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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 17, 2009
After just finishing a sloppily written/poorly edited book by another author, it was a pleasure to encounter Robin Cook's smooth, error-free prose. Intervention rolls steadily along like old man river for the first two-thirds or so, although I would not say it's breathtakingly exciting.

The three main characters were chums in college. Now, they are all successful men in their fifties living in New York. Jack, easily the most likeable of the three, is a forensic pathologist for the NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. He performs autopsies and determines the cause of death for people who apparently did not die naturally. Shawn is a prominent archaeologist based at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with an interest in early Christian history. He's willing to bend/ignore the rules to advance his career. James is the Catholic archbishop of New York City. He too is ambitious and hopes to rise even higher in the Church.

Jack, whose first wife and two children were killed in a plane crash, is now married to a colleague at the OCME. As the novel opens, he is troubled by his infant son's serious illness, which does not seem to be responding to medical treatment. This contributes to Jack's interest in alternative medicine, as does the death of a young woman which was apparently caused by a negligent chiropractor.

Shawn uncovers evidence in Egypt and Rome which appears to rock cherished Catholic beliefs. His findings focus on what's inside an ancient ossuary, dated at 62 A.D. If you know what an ossuary is, the title of this review will mean something to you. If you don't know what an ossuary is, you will soon enough if you read this book.

James is alarmed by Shawn's findings because they undermine some of James's personal religious beliefs and because James unwittingly facilitated those discoveries. James is afraid that his association with Shawn's work will derail his train to higher Church office, so he wants to quash Shawn's highly controversial research before it becomes public.

Cook writes with a confidence and grace that kept the pages turning. But, as the last hundred or so pages approached, I wondered how Cook could possibly bring this yarn together effectively. He doesn't. The yarn unravels as the conclusion nears. The plot takes some bizarre, unconvincing turns. It seems to all go up in smoke.

I feel that Cook wrote himself into a corner when he tried to have "science" prove or disprove what are, in the end, matters of faith. The accuracy of the sources that concerned James so much simply could not be proven, no matter what Shawn reported. This really undermines the whole book.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2009
This couldn't have been written by Robin Cook. It was the WORST book I ever read. Talk about trying to cash in on the Dan Brown train! Nothing in this book was remotely believable. If my infant son had cancer I don't think I would be playing basketball, going to dinner parties and winging to Rome for a diversion!!! Give me a break. I fell asleep reading this too many times to count and normally I can't put a Robin Cook down. Will the real Robin Cook please stand up!
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2009
This has to be the worst book that I have ever read. I must admit, I didn't really read all of it, it was so bad that I skimmed most of the second half. First we get 100 pages of Jack Stapleton ranting at chiropractors, acupunturists and homopaths. This was actually the best part of the book with actually some forensics. Suddenly, this thread is dropped and we are spirited away to Cairo and the Vatican where Jack's old roommate is digging up Virgin Mary's bones. Of course, Jack's other roommate is the Archbishop of New York (stop giggling) who doesn't want the secret of the bones revealed. The bone digger-upper's wife just happens to be a DNA expert and connects Virgin Mary to Eve (stop laughing). The Archbishop next sends a hitman to kill the bone people. The book ends when Jack flys to Israel to visit a present day Palestinian woman who has the same DNA as Eve and the Virgin Mary and she heals Jack's infant son that had cancer. Sorry for revealing the plot, but if I save some poor soul from buying this book I have at least done some good service.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2009
This perhaps was the worst book I've read in the past ten years or so. The first half we're preached at incessantly on the dangers of alternative medicine. The second half seemed to be written by a different author altogether. I hated this book, unlike some of the other reviews I finished the book. It was an awful experience that left me very angry. I will think twice before reading another robin cook novel. I think it's time he get back to his roots and writes a solid medical mystery with fresh characters. I for one think the whole jack stapelton character is played out. Let the reader beware!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2009
Boring! Boring! Boring! I think I have read all of Robin Cook's books and this is by far the worst. It seems like the author was writing two or three different books and tried to meld them into one. If I wanted to read yet another book about religious dogma and tracking down religious artifacts (which I don't) I would read Dan Brown. And the ending was completely unsatisfactory - it looked like the publisher called up and said "we need this book tomorrow" and Robin Cook obliged. A very poor effort.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2009
I've read many of Cook's novels and though they tend to be formulaic, they are usually well written and cleverly plotted. Intervention - not so. This is a mish-mash of unrealistic Dan Brown (let's walk into the Vatican with a bag of tools, climb underneath Peter's tomb and chip out a 40 pound ossuary in an hour or so, that just happens to contain the bones of Mother Mary), combined with what appears to be the author's thinly disguised attack on alternative medicine.

If the hero, Jack Stapleton, is an example of medical forensic's best offering, then heaven help the human race is all I can say.

A thoroughly disappointing book that should have never seen the light of day. Though considering the miraculous healing of Stapleton's child at the end (yes I'm giving away the big surprise - the kid does not die, he is healed by visiting the Palestinian descendant of Jesus' mother), the fact that this book made it past the editing staff is something of a miracle itself.

What? How could mother Mary have descendants? We thought she died and ascended like her well known son? According to the plot she may have had as many as a dozen children, and since modern medicine can track mitochondrial DNA with such accuracy, Stapleton was able to trace one of them.

Take a break Cook. Don't read any more Dan Brown. Stick to the medical thriller.

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2009
Caution-book ending revealed.

This book was one big awful attempt at suspense it couldn't hold and completely dumped at the letdown ending. Let me whittle 367 pages down to 3 sentences. A archeologist supposedly found the bones of Mother of Jesus, lots of arguments take place whether to expose this secret or even delve into its secrets (DNA of Mary & find current relatives through her DNA, etc.) or hide the find to save the Catholic Church the embarrassment of having made a mistake because Mary's body was supposed to have ascended to heaven bones and all. Kill off the archeologist and his DNA expert wife and bury the find inside the Catholic Church never to see the light of day again. Throw in a sick baby and the bad alternative medicine side stories to fill in space. End of story.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2009
Generally I'm a big fan of Robin Cook, especially the Stapleton/Montgomery series. But quite frankly, this one didn't even seem like it was written by Robin Cook.

What we have here seems to be two separate books melded into one. There are three separate plots that don't exactly tie into one another.

Plot 1) Jack and Laurie's sick son. Little Jack Junior is diagnosed with a form of child cancer. Conventional medicine is currently failing the suffering parents and their child. So much so that Laurie even entertains seeking aid from 'alternative medicine'. This sort of ties into plot 2

Plot 2) As a result of researching and trying to debunk the actual practicality of alternative medicine as a means to help their ailing son, Jack happens upon several ME cases that show evidence of it actually HARMING patience, particularly Chiropractic medicine when used as a means to treat all sicknesses, not just back problems.

This is actually more along the lines of a good Robin Cook book. Jack digging deep into cases and amassing evidence of malpractice or snake oil salesmen calling themselves 'doctors' and ripping people off and harming them on top of it.

Unfortunately this crusade to expose the falsehoods of alternative medicines is short lived and overshadowed with plot 3 which is a TOTAL departure from anything having to do with the other concurrent plot lines

Plot 3) Jack's old college roommate and eminent archeologist finds evidence of an important religious find in an antiquities shop in Egypt. What did he find? A letter giving the location of what could possibly be the bones of the virgin Mary buried in Italy. The consequences of such a find could turn the catholic church into utter bedlam because according to dogma, Mary's bones and entire being for that matter were absorbed into heaven upon her death.

There are some interesting things to be had in this plot. Religious dogma, theories as to whether Mary had more children and if her actual bloodline still exists till this very day, etc, etc. It would have made a great book...ON ITS OWN...

There are just some very major flaws in this book. Jack just happens to have known the Cardinal of New York (the most powerful clergyman in the entire country) from the college days, and he wants Jack's help to try to derail Shawn (their common friend and archeologist who found the possible evidence of Mary's bones in egypt) to help the Catholic Church save face. The coincidence of Jack knowing such a powerful man in the church is a bit of a stretch.

Some of the methods that the Cardinal is willing to employ to save his church are quite unseemly.

The total abandonment of Jack's crusade against alternative medicine about halfway through the book if not sooner is disappointing because it was the one thing that rang true insofar as theme goes for these characters we've been reading for so long.

What makes it seem that it wasn't even Robin Cook who wrote this though was the characters themselves. Jack and Laurie in particular. Sure their personalities are in place, but the dialogue. It's very stiff and plastic. It's as if he's forgotten their voice if you will. They're acting like they're the Jack and Laurie that we've read over many books, but they don't SOUND like the same Jack and Laurie.

All that and I'm still not quite sure why the book was called Intervention or why they chose a spread of medical instruments as the book's minor issue to be sure, but one that sums up my thoughts on this book: it just doesn't seem to know what it wants to be and never really becomes any one particular thing over the course of all its pages.

I'm still a fan of Robin Cook as I find his medical mysteries well written and pretty exciting but this one was just a let down.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2009
Pathetic! I'm a fan of Robin Cook but this was beyond the pale. The writing was ghastly and the plots absurd. I can't imagine what happened to the Dr. Cook I loved. Clearly he wanted to rant(using Jack) against alternative medicine and he did a stellar. if sophomoric, job. Sort of amusing that Jack kept running into intelligent, powerful people who use and love various kinds of alternative treatment.(Perhaps the book should have been titled "Vendetta"). Therefore, Jack decides he really can't win this one. Wow, the ability to quit before you start is how I like my heroes--or not. Cook's attempt at playing Dan Brown was just lame. Suspending disbelief even for a second was impossible. As for the plot line with Jack and Laurie's baby--what I learned about Jack was TMI. Come to think of it--the Jack I read about in this book is not someone I would want to know. Dr. Cook needs to take a long break from writing and then restart the series with Laurie alone.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2009
I usually love Robin Cook. i hated all of the chapters to do with his friends in rome and overseas and talking religion. getting through those chapters took me forever and i felt myself skimming over them. i liked the ones that were home but again not at all believable. the ending for the most part was seen coming a mile away. dont was money.
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