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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The non-stop action and format of the book make it one that you'll read quickly just to see what happens next.
Maria Hernandez needs a hip replacement, Herbert Benfatti has to have a knee replaced and David Lucas wants his stomach stapled. All travel from the US to India as participants in what has become known as medical tourism.

With the cost of surgery marginally lower in India than in America, it seems like a no-brainer. Especially considering the surgeries are done...
Published on August 18, 2008 by Bookreporter

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Once again, a boring read
Once again, RC takes on what is a really hot topic for the moment, and then apparently doesn't have a clue what to do with it. A book about medical tourism has the potential to be a phenominal read...this was just stupid. The whole issue is never really explored. The entire book is nothing more than page after page after page after...of idiotic conversations between...
Published on September 1, 2008 by Dog Lover


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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The non-stop action and format of the book make it one that you'll read quickly just to see what happens next., August 18, 2008
By 
Bookreporter (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Foreign Body (Hardcover)
Maria Hernandez needs a hip replacement, Herbert Benfatti has to have a knee replaced and David Lucas wants his stomach stapled. All travel from the US to India as participants in what has become known as medical tourism.

With the cost of surgery marginally lower in India than in America, it seems like a no-brainer. Especially considering the surgeries are done in first-rate medical facilities by extremely qualified doctors, the families are put up in five-star hotels, and patients and loved ones are given every consideration. However, what appears to be a great deal soon turns into a nightmare. None of these patients expect to pay with their lives in order to save financially.

These three seemingly healthy people suddenly die one after another, all of apparent heart attacks. Is there a problem with the care they've received? Did they have underlying and undiagnosed heart problems no one was aware of? Or is there something more sinister going on here?

When Jennifer Hernandez, a fourth-year medical student at UCLA, learns of her grandmother's death via a CNN news report, she is shocked. She had no idea that the woman who raised her was even traveling to India for surgery, and intends to investigate this unexpected tragedy. A post-surgery heart attack in an individual who had a thorough cardiovascular checkup only months before makes no sense to this burgeoning doctor.

The fact that the representative from the Queen Victoria hospital is pressuring Jennifer for an immediate answer regarding either cremation or embalming also strikes her as odd. While she realizes that in India bodies are taken care of almost immediately after death, she does not appreciate being coerced into a decision. The pressure only adds to her sense that something is amiss in her grandmother's situation.

Once in India, Jennifer learns of two other patients who expired in much the same way as Maria, and the search for answers is on. Luckily, Jennifer is able to make contact with the surviving spouses of the other victims and encourage them to push for an autopsy much as she is doing. However, permission for an autopsy is rarely given in India, and no one seems inclined to help the three grieving women.

Luck is on Jennifer's side, though. Her close friend, Dr. Laurie Montgomery, and her husband, Jack Stapleton, are both medical examiners and have consented to travel to India in order to help Jennifer get to the bottom of why American medical patients are dropping like flies.

The problem is, Jennifer is becoming a major annoyance to some powerful people in India. With the higher-ups determined to stop her no matter what it takes, her life is in as precarious a balance as that of the dead patients. Will she be able to solve the mystery surrounding these deaths, or will she become just another foreign body?

As a fan of Robin Cook, I felt reasonably sure I would like FOREIGN BODY before I ever picked it up. I wasn't wrong. The topic of medical tourism is a timely one and raises questions of safety and standards of care outside the U.S. The character of Jennifer Hernandez is very likable, and her ability to gain answers and justice for all of the victims is inspiring. The non-stop action and format of the book make it one that you'll read quickly just to see what happens next.

--- Reviewed by Amie Taylor
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Once again, a boring read, September 1, 2008
By 
Dog Lover (South Carolina) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Foreign Body (Hardcover)
Once again, RC takes on what is a really hot topic for the moment, and then apparently doesn't have a clue what to do with it. A book about medical tourism has the potential to be a phenominal read...this was just stupid. The whole issue is never really explored. The entire book is nothing more than page after page after page after...of idiotic conversations between the characters. I read a lot of comments here about the dialogue being ridiculous...seriously, I just want to know if this is how RC talks when he is conversing with friends, etc. My opinion is that he wants his characters to be superhuman in their intelligence and abilities, and he's assuming that if they go around speaking as though coughing up a thesarus, that will make them so. And I realize that he has to take some liberties with reality, but the events in this book are so stupid that it's not fun to read. I finished it only because I am compulsive and just can't start a book and not finish it, but instead of being sad it was over, I was relieved to see the last page. He used to put out such great books....I think that the stories are all told and the well is dry. Just one more painful read.
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46 of 57 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pop Quiz!, August 14, 2008
By 
Brian Baker (Santa Clarita, CA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Foreign Body (Hardcover)
Which book by Robin Cook features an Intrepid Young Medical Student stumbling onto a nefarious scheme by Evil Big Corporate Medicine to cynically line their own pockets by sabotaging legitimate health care and murdering hapless patients, and whose Evil Deeds are only brought to a halt by the courageous investigation by the Medical Student, who braves overwhelming odds and mortal danger to see that Justice ultimately prevails?

Answer: All of them!

Cook is simply a One-Note-Johnny, who hasn't had an original idea since "Coma". This sorry book is no exception; a simple regurgitation of the same old story line, featuring some of the same old characters from previous books, going through the same old tired motions, against the same old villainous types. The only difference here is that the locale has been changed to India, the only fresh breeze of originality in the entire book.

I was so bored that last night I finally gave up on this waste of paper a little over halfway through at Chapter 23.

Further adding to the laugh factor this time, Cook's villainous cabal of murderers are so inept and incompetent that in their attempt to discredit "medical tourism" to India, they leak the news of each of the patients' deaths to CNN, which airs the stories immediately, even before the dead patients' next of kin are notified of the deaths, thereby ASSURING that they leave a trail of suspicion in their own wake.

These idjits were so incompetent it was laugh-out-loud absurd, like The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight.

Good grief! Doesn't anyone at Putnam have the guts to tell Cook he's nothing more than a self-plagiarizing bore?

I'd give this minus stars if I possibly could. Save your money.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Disappointing!, August 31, 2008
This review is from: Foreign Body (Hardcover)
I was incredibly disappointed in this book. I'm generally a fan of Robin Cook, and I have read almost every book he has written. I was expecting this book to be at least as good as the others. Boy was I wrong.

The plot was great, in my opinion, and the action did keep my attention for a while. However, the ending was a huge let down. It seemed obvious that Mr. Cook had no idea how to end the story, so he just threw something in at the end in order to wrap everything up a bit too quickly and too neatly.

Too add insult to injury, there were several punctuation and grammatical errors throughout the book. Simply poor writing and poor editing. I wish I hadn't wasted my money on this one.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DOA, August 28, 2008
This review is from: Foreign Body (Hardcover)
Wow--what a disappointment. Bad writing meets unbelievable plot.

Judge the writing for yourself. But as to the plot. You might like this story line if 1) you think surgeons in the US have it so bad that one practice decides to commit serial murder to block patients from going to India; 2) young (beautiful, of course) Indian women want so badly to immigrate to the US that they willingly commit murder on behalf of the murderous US surgeons; 3) that following murder, the gang of wannabe immigrants sit around with their employer to discuss how it went; and 3) that CNN would air astonishing reports, based on anonymous sources, of--EGADS--a heart attack in an Indian hospital after routine surgery. OK, if you follow CNN, you might accept the latter, but don't spend even one evening with this medical waste product, when there are so many other fine novels out there.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Once upon a time......................., October 18, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Foreign Body (Hardcover)
Once upon a time, there was this good doctor who wrote terrific medical thrillers. His books became very popular. He sold millions of copies and soon became a full time writer and a rich man.

For a long time is many fans enjoyed is work and each book was awaited with great anticipation.

Then suddenly one day, to his fans' great disappointment, he wrote a rather boring book. At first, his many admirers hoped it to be a one time occurence. But other boring books followed, all lacking the freshness and new ideas of his earlier works which had always kept his faithful audience captivated.

After a long row of disappointments, a bok set in India seemed promising and the fans once again held their hopes high and ran to the bookstores. The book was based upon an up to date healthcare matter in America, and raised questions of great importance.

But alas, in spite of a splendid idea and a great opportunity to turn the trend and get back to earlier greatness, the book was a flop and lots of disappointed fans simply gave up after a few chapters. Some even wondered whether the doctor had really written the book himself. Stilted language, repetitive dialogues, unrealistic plots and ideas. It all seemed rather hasty and in lack of good editing.

And so, numerous books ended up gathering dust in bookcases all over the world and some were even thrown in the garbage, while buyers regretted good money badly spent, and swore they would never again buy a book by their previously cherised idol.

So, if the good doctor has not decided to once again offer the quality of his heydays, it's goodbye and tanks for the memories. It was fun as long as it lasted.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Robin Cook misses the mark with Foreign Body, August 29, 2008
By 
This review is from: Foreign Body (Hardcover)
In Foreign Body, 4th year medical student Jennifer Hernandez watches in horror as CNN reports on a "medical tourism" death in New Delhi, with the victim being Hernandez' grandmother. Hernandez interrupts her studies, dropping everything, and jets off to India to make the necessary funeral arrangements.

So far so good.

She is pressed, hard, to decide whether her grandmother would prefer cremation or embalming (for shipping to the US). As she ponders her loss, and her next step, she hears, again on CNN, that another "medical tourism" patient has died, in the same hospital. The hospital is adamantly against any autopsy, and the Indian judicial system discourages autopsies.

Suspicious, she delays her decision, and gets two forensic pathologists to drop everything and jet to New Delhi, along with a "boyfriend" physician with experience in India (who also drops everything).

In the meantime, the real culprits, a US-based team of marketing administrators and nurses, continue their plans to destroy India's medical tourism business by killing American patients seeking cheaper medical interventions in India (you learn this in the first couple of chapters, so this is not giving away any plot secrets).

Foreign Body doesn't pass the following tests: believability of plot, believability of characters, and believability of action (the kidnapping sequence is particularly unbelievable). My first Robin Cook novel was Toxin, and I listened to it while driving across the US. I've read his books ever since. However, Foreign Body is not one I can recommend.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just so so, August 23, 2008
This review is from: Foreign Body (Hardcover)
I've always enjoyed medical thrillers, and have read several of Robin Cooks books. Coma, some 30 years ago, being my absolute favorite. In Cooks latest medical thriller: Foreign Body, Cook's subject is 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 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, (CNN learns of the patients deaths before the family does) unconvincing villains, silly dialogue and a convenient,quickly wrapped up ending make this book a less than perfect read. I still enjoyed the book , but it was just average in my opinion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perspective from an Indian surgeon in the USA, October 6, 2008
By 
Vasanth Stalin "OptimusPrime" (Klamath Falls, OR United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Foreign Body (Hardcover)
Robin Cook has certainly been one of my favorite authors along with Issac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Baxter and the like. As far as medical thrillers are concerned he is probably the best writer out there at the moment and has been for many years now. The verdict in short - This effort doesn't do justice to many of his previous stellar works. What was interesting though, from my relatively unique perspective as a surgeon from India who subsequently went through surgical residency in NYC, was his focus on medical tourism and his overall grasp of India. I have to say that on both these counts, his portrayal has been very realistic. His acknowledgement that private hospitals in India matched up easily to their western counterparts is a fact well known to people in India, but a recognition from Robin Cook on the international stage is something else. In the same breath, he also manages to showcase reasonably accurately, the best and worst of India as a society, and as a country, which can be a paradox to most westerners. The storyline itself, I am afraid, isn't too complicated and its a safe bet to say that this certainly isn't one of the master's better efforts..
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment from Robin Cook, December 4, 2009
I am so sorry to review a Robin Cook medical thriller and give only three stars, but, alas, I must. "Foreign Body" simply does not match--nor come anywhere close--to the intensity of other Cook books I've read. I'm not even sure what the title means.

"Foreign Body" is set in India, a place Cook has obviously visited, as evidenced by precise details of description of locales and even people, notably the keepers of dead bodies in and around the crematoriums.

There really is not much medical thriller here. Unlike the pace and tone of other Cook novels, this one did not have me on the edge, trying to help the characters through. In only one setting did I shiver--just a tad--for one of the main characters. Yet Cook could not make the sacrifice of his character to help this limping plot along (as Stephen King does in that horror of horrors, the death of the child in "Pet Sematary"). The character in this particular situation does live to tell her story. Perhaps his point was that Indian hooligans cannot kill their victims. That was my conclusion.

So, the gist? Jennifer's grandmother dies after an operation in India, noted for its inexpensive surgeries. A growing tourist attraction to India is the operating table. When another patient inexplicably dies after surgery, Jennifer begins to wonder what is going on. A third victim convinces her. She calls her friend Laurie, a medical examiner (a higher level of coroner) to come to India and do an autopsy. And Laurie agrees! Wow, what a friend! She convinces her ME husband to come along. And bring their equipment necessary for monitoring Laurie's impending fertility cycle so as to help it along. A diversionary subplot to brace the weak main plot. Hmmmm, Mr. Cook.

I guess the amazing thing on my part is that I read this thick novel all the way to the end. Meanwhile, my friends are reading books of substance, Nobel winners, standard classics. When I started Foreign Body (oh yeah, the title--has to be that the bodies of these Americans are "foreign" because they died in India--see what I mean?), I needed something to take away my mind from the stress at work. Yes, I worded that the way I wanted.

To be fair to Robin Cook, let me recommend two of his page-turners: Chromosome 6 and Brain. Now these are excellent medical thrillers with the writer at his best!
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Foreign Body
Foreign Body by Robin Cook (Audio CD - August 5, 2008)
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