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Mortal Fear
By Robin Cook

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Mortal Fear
By Robin Cook
G. P. Putnam's Sons - Large Print Book Club Edition, (1988)
Genre: Medical Thriller

Reviewed by Anna Dogole - July 7, 2001

Jason Howard is conscientious and respected doctor. He cares deeply for the wellfare of his patients, and is genuinely heart sick when his patients do not do as well as expected. A sentiment that, of late, he is finding that he must deal with all too often. For some unexplained reason, Howard's patients are dying at an alarming rate. What is even more alarming is that the patients are primarily dying from grossly advanced conditions - despite the fact that they all had recent physicals in which Howard had judged them to be in, for all intensive purposes, fine health.

The plot thickens when Dr. Alvin Hayes, a famous research scientist, confides in Howard that someone is out to kill him, and then he promptly dies in a most horrific manner. Howard quickly becomes embroiled in police investigation revolving around Hayes's death and he begins to suspect that Hayes's research, and his death, are interconnected with the unexpected death's of Howard's own patients. Thus begins a life and death quest to uncover the truth before more people die.

Mortal Fear is standard Robin Cook fare. You have a sincere, well-respected doctor who is suddenly faced with a spat of unexpected deaths. Said doctor then must track down the cause. At the same time, he must also expose a conspiracy organized by the local managed health organization which is more concerned with profits than patients' health. Although not one of his best works, Mortal Fear is diverting and is perfect for those lazy days when you don't want to read anything heavy. My main complaint is that half way through I knew 'what was up' and I thought that the good doctor should have 'caught on' way sooner than he did. However, had he figured it all out when I did, there would have been no need for the second half of the book. A second half which includes a hair-raising scene in which Howard goes over a waterfall, in a rubber boat, while being chased by a gun wielding assassin. Enough said....


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