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Mutation Hardcover – January 10, 1989

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like many of Cook's earlier novels ( Coma , Brain , Fever ), this overheated medical thriller covers a hokey, old-fashioned contrivancethe creation of a mad scientist runs amokwith a veneer of cutting-edge technology. The result resembles an ancient, none-too-scary horror movie played out on modern sets. The author's version of evil genius Dr. Frankenstein is Dr. Victor Frank, a bio-physicist who is driven by his wife Marsha's infertility to create a monster: a son whose genetic structure has been designed to preordain brilliance. Keeping the experiment a secret from his wife, he implants similar embryos in two other women as well. ("When I did it, it seemed like a good idea," he claims, in one of the novel's funnier lines.) A decade later, his work goes awry; the other children die mysteriously, and Marsha realizes that something about her smart son isn't quite normalhe has no emotions. (Readers may wonder why, as a child psychologist, she took 10 years to notice.) Cook's characterization is perfunctory even by genre standards, and his initially suspenseful story collapses under the weight of clumsy action scenes and twists that rupture the internal logic of an already shaky premise. Literary Guild main selection.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Cook has created another chilling medical suspense story, this time using the perils of genetic engineering as the central theme. Readers will be captivated by this genius child, V. J. Frank. Dr. Victor Frank, a biomolecular researcher, has tampered with the genetic make-up of his son during his in vitro fertilization and implantation in a surrogate mother. To all appearances, V. J. is a physically perfect child with super intellectual capabilities. However, when his mother begins to suspect some changes and problems with V. J.'s behavior, the plot takes off, keeping readers always in suspense. This timely topic of genetic engineering is imaginatively explored.
- Susan Penny, St. Cecilia's School, Houston
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (January 10, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399134026
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399134029
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 20 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,515,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Doctor and author Robin Cook is widely credited with introducing the word 'medical' to the thriller genre, and over twenty years after the publication of his breakthrough novel, Coma, he continues to dominate the category he created. Cook has successfully combined medical fact with fantasy to produce a over twenty-seven international bestsellers, including Outbreak (1987), Terminal (1993), Contagion (1996), Chromosome 6 (1997) and Foreign Body (2008).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Ellington VINE VOICE on February 22, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I will admit that when I first read this novel I was only fourteen and I remember liking it. Then I read it again, now that I'm older, and I realize now just how amateur it really is. From the writing to the plot to the clichéd characters `Mutation' fails to live up to the reputation of a beloved author. Maybe my growing distaste of this novel is due to the fact that I'm not a huge fan of the medical thriller...but before you automatically disregard this review as biased let me just explain the main reasons for my complaints, for they in themselves have nothing to do with the `medical' aspect of the story.

The strange child / scary child plotline has been done a time or two or three-hundred. In this book the scenario isn't revived as much as revisited. It seems the same, nothing new or exciting, and when the child or quote-unquote creation trumps over master it seems, what did I call it, that's right...clichéd. The master / creator, whatever you want to call, is Dr. Victor Frank, a bio-physicist who attempted to create the perfect child but instead created a monster. He quickly becomes the guilty victim and I had trouble decided whether or not I, the reader, was supposed to sympathize or loathe him. Really, his character is so boring that I couldn't muster up any feeling whatsoever for him.

The mother, the true `victim' if this story calls for one, comes off somewhat stupid. Cooks first mistake was making her a child psychologist because everyone knows that, at least in the entertainment world, psychologists spend their free time analyzing their own families so it's ridiculous to conclude that she never noticed her son's strange behavior until it was too late.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Tracy Davis on September 11, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although a little heavy handed with allusions to Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein", Robin Cook's "Mutation" is a good enough read. The plot revolves around genetic manipulation of the unborn: Victor (named just like in the Shelley work) genetically enhances five embryos, one of which becomes his second son (a genius), VJ (for Victor Jr.). By VJ's tenth birthday, several people close to him have mysteriously died from a rare form of liver cancer, and Marsha, his mother, begins to suspect that all is not right. By the time she convinces Victor that their son has, to put it mildly, a personality disorder, VJ has begun to conduct his own experiments in genetic research. Cook, as always, includes great biological plot points, and at the least, the book is educational and raises several issues that are as relevant now as when the book was first published several years ago. However, the element of surprise just isn't there, and an attentive reader can spot what's coming a mile away. The end implies that the story isn't over...but isn't as ambiguous as Shelley's "Frankenstein". Or as profound...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tlucas555 on September 7, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Robin Cook's book Mutation was a scientific thriller that kept me reading page after page. From the beginning of the book where a strange birth takes place to where you find out Vj's a kid super genius, how couldn't you keep reading on?

Mutations is about a Dr. Victor Frank whose love for science ultimately conflicts with his better judgment...

This book was not only interesting and entertaining but it was also well written. Cook's method of using a lot of detail pays off in this thriller. His descriptions of things such as weather and highway signs help the reader paint a visual picture while reading. This book raises many important matters, one of which is cloning. Cook states his opinion on cloning through his writing very clearly, and I suggest reading this book to all people.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By kyle2158 on September 6, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
From the beginning of Robin Cook's Mutation, it becomes pretty obvious that Victor Frank bares striking similarities to Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Mary Shelley's Frankenstein). Not only do their names give away this obvious clue, but the work that that Victor is involved in also gives it away. Dr. Frank is working on a project with an NGF gene. This involves tampering with his wife's eggs, and the unborn fertilized egg that will become his son VJ. This devious work makes us believe that Victor will be the creator of a monster. Within the first few pages any intelligent reader would have to know that the real conflict is going to be creator vs. creature. The problem with the book is that it seems to waste too much time in the middle. The clues are there the whole time, but yet the characters aren't intelligent enough to pick up on what the reader already can. The book is filled with numerous conflicts between Victor and many characters that just drift away from the story. By the time that the creature (son VJ) confronts Dr. Frank it is too late. At this point the reader is too tired to even care anymore. There is a small amount of action in those last fifty pages, but it takes way too long to establish the real conflict. The book is tired and boring not to mention unbelievable. Don't bother wasting time on this book, it's an interesting idea, but Cook just fills it up with too much junk in the middle.
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