From Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Cook (Critical
) stumbles in this formulaic thriller about the timely subject of medical tourism, the trend in which U.S. citizens seek to save costs on expensive surgery through treatment overseas. At the center of the drama is Jennifer Hernandez, a fourth-year medical student at UCLA, whose grandmother has died in a New Delhi hospital following hip replacement surgery. Suspicious about the circumstances, Hernandez immediately flies to India to investigate. There she not only discovers a number of similar deaths of U.S. citizens but also runs into the one-two punch of a desperate Indian medical industry struggling to block all publicity about the deaths and a huge American HMO that wants nothing more than the widest exposure of the apparent medical missteps in the Third World. Implausible plot twists, unconvincing villains, silly dialogue and a convenient, all-too-happy ending make this one of Cook's rare weak efforts. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Medical-thriller writer Cook has made a tidy sum scaring the bejesus out of his readers with medical catastrophes ranging from Coma (1977) to Seizure (2003). His latest homes in on the phenomenon of medical tourism, a new trend that sees many U.S. citizens traveling to foreign hospitals to obtain low-cost surgical procedures, often spending their recovery time in five-star resorts. Unfortunately for the three victims here, it’s not a five-star resort but a cafeteria freezer that is their resting place after three routine surgeries done in New Delhi, India, produce fatal results. One of the victims is the grandmother of Jennifer Hernandez, a UCLA medical student who is resisting pressure to have her relative cremated. The fact that her grandmother’s death was publicized on CNN before the hospital even contacted the family has made Jennifer suspicious. She turns to forensic experts Drs. Laurie Montgomery and Jack Stapleton (last seen in Critical, 2007), who quickly determine the best way to bypass India’s corrupt police force, perform an illegal autopsy, and figure who has the prime motive for sabotaging India’s burgeoning medical-tourism industry. Cook’s clever concept is undermined by the wooden characters, but what is most in need of resuscitation here is the painfully awkward dialogue. Still, this is an easy read that offers good background detail on India in addition to the medical drama and should appeal to the author’s many fans. --Joanne Wilkinson