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Shock Hardcover – August 27, 2001

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (August 27, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399146008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399146008
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 1.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,334,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Robin Cook, master of bestselling medical thrillers, answers the "What's the worst thing that could happen?" question in this plot-twisting novel in which villains with no sense of ethics or social responsibility get their greedy hands on the newest cloning technology. It starts when a couple of Harvard graduate students answer the Wingate Clinic's ad for egg donors. The women figure on financing a year in Venice and the down payment on a Boston condo with the extraordinary sum they're promised. But a year later, the heroines feel the emotional need to seek out the children they've made possible for infertile couples. So they disguise themselves and seek jobs at the clinic in order to access the identifying information. The clinic, as it turns out, has plenty of secrets to protect, so it's hard to believe that a pair of computer neophytes could bypass its security. But they do, and the author is an adept enough writer to finesse this detail.

As in past books, Cook is much better at the technical details of medical research than he is at characterization, but he definitely knows how to plot a thriller. This one keeps you turning the pages until the final denouement, though the last chapter ends abruptly, leaving the reader to wonder whether he ran out of steam or is just setting up a sequel in which he'll recycle the villains in a new scheme with a new pair of victims. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

The medical thriller has come a long way since Cook and Michael Crichton invented it: recent practitioners like Tess Gerritson have polished it into a powerful dramatic and social engine. Alas, Cook appears to have gotten off at the wrong station or missed the train entirely, judging by his latest effort, a crudely conceived, ineptly written and most damning of all totally unexciting story ripped from old headlines. Things have been going to hell at the Wingate Fertility Clinic, housed in a rambling Victorian mansion near Boston, ever since the gifted Dr. Spencer Wingate decided to take some time off to write a novel and chase women. Not only was he unsuccessful at both activities, but the nasty little replacement he left in charge has been doing some weird stuff including paying young Harvard women $45,000 for their eggs and driving down the profits. Spencer returns at the same time as two of these women, Deborah Cochrane and Joanna Meissner, who have been spending their payment on Boston real estate and a year in Venice. Judging by the burly security guards on hand who conveniently dispose of a donor who dies on the operating table (and her friend, too) in the first chapter, Deborah and Joanna aren't about to be greeted with open arms. They manage to join the clinic staff under assumed names, hoping to find out what became of the eggs they contributed. Add a farm straight from The Island of Dr. Moreau, where the Wingate staff experiment on animals when they're not busy applying unethical electric shock treatments to human zygotes, and the result is a medical and literary mess with no redeeming features. Advertising on the Today show and CNN; author tour.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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

This is undoubtably Robin Cook's worst book.
Randy Barnes
The only thing I can think of is that Mr. Cook needed the money and just wrote until he got tired and then stopped.
The plot was predictable and the ending was insulting to the reader.
Larry M. Stephens

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Karen B. Nelson on September 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I own and have read every one of Robin Cook's books, some several times. They are riveting, exciting and well written.
With Shock, I was in shock. Here are two female post grads from Harvard, no less, with newly acquired Doctorates in Economics and Microbiology. Then in comes Laverne & Shirley. How Cook expected to pass this off as a well written mystery beats me, the two girls giggled, argued, made a mockery out of average intelligence(to wit, the first and only day on the job, like no one noticed they took 1/2 hour breaks every hour, met at the water fountain and disappeared with no notice) and it was supposed to be a medical mystery. The only mystery is how he managed to keep a straight face as he wrote it. Would not recommend it at all. Unless you get it free or on loan, but remember, I told you so.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "tradervic27" on September 15, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was Cook's very worst. So bad that it was hard to finish... and I actually wasn't sure when I had - there was no ending.
With a totally ludicrious plot & characters that never become *people*, there is no emotion, no realism. Robin Cook knows medicine; it's what he does. I've noticed before, however, that he had trouble embodying characters. This time he failed woefully.
Deborah and Joanna, two highly intelligent but very foolish post-graduate Harvard students, decide to sell their eggs to an infertility clinic for $45,000 each. After their arrival at the old rural-area clinic, the women notice an unusual amount of security, gargoyles perched on the roof of the run-down Victorian building (a former insane asylum) & even a crematorium, once used for disposing of the dead. Deciding that none of this is actually cause for concern, they have their procedures & leave with their checks.
After a year, they decide to come back `in disguise' to find out where their eggs went. They discover a bizarre, dangerous, X-File-like underground project. Here their behavior gets really odd. They remain calm while being chased by killers, burst into giggles and crack jokes (to relieve tension, Cook writes) & use dialogue like "Gadzooks!"
'Shock' summed up the way I felt about this book. Was this the same guy who wrote 'Outbreak' & 'Coma'??
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J. L. Ennis on June 17, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I won't go so far as to say that this was a horrible book. I don't feel that I've read enough of Robin Cook's novels to be able to make that statement fairly. However, I do know that I spent 340 pages of reading being fairly entertained, and then 12 pages being SORELY disappointed. To say that this novel ran out of steam is an understatement of DRASTIC proportions. Even with a sequel planned for this story, I have trouble comprehending that his editors let him get away with this ending. Keep this one at the bottom of your pile and definitely get it from the library!
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Konrad Kern VINE VOICE on September 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
After numerous delays, I'm glad that Robin Cook's latest finally made it to the bookshelves. It wasn't quite worth the wait.
When Deborah Cochrane and Joanna Meissner, two college grad students, decide to sell their eggs, it seemed like a good idea, after all it paid 45,000 dollars per person. This money would be enough for them to get a condo, and travel to Venice for a year to work on their theses. The Wingate Clinic, which offered the money, performed this procedure in an afternoon, with apparently no problems.
A year down the road when they return from Venice, Joanna becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her eggs, even though this went against the agreement with the clinic. Well of course Deborah had to help her obsessed friend find out. Big mistake. One of many to come.
Cook's latest medical thriller is not quite up to par, and not what I would expect from him. In the medical thriller genre, there are quite a few authors that can provide a better book than this (Palmer, Gerritsen). I had no compassion at all for the protagonist's of this story. Deborah and Joanna's ideas for breaking into the clinics computers or disguising themselves for employment made it hard to believe they were college graduate students. When committing felonies, one does not leave so much evidence as they did. Two clueless characters. This timely and controversial subject could have been written with much more depth and adventure. I wonder if this was actually written by Cook, and why is there a ten-year-old picture on the jacket and not a newer one?
Lightly recommended for the die hard Cook fan.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ViolaNut on September 5, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
With all the good stuff coming out in paperback this month, don't feel too bad if you pass this one up until later. Although the pace was sufficiently fast to keep me turning pages, it seems Cook was resting on his laurels here and not expending too much effort.
For Harvard doctoral candidates, the two main characters are pretty dippy. And as an aside here, the post-laparoscopy description is WAY off - trust me, I've had one, they hurt. Quite a bit. The gas does not get absorbed in an hour. Especially if - well, no, I'm not going to be a spoiler here, but anyway, I don't know of anyplace that'll let even outpatient surgery patients drive themselves home, especially only a couple of hours later. (IANAD so I could be wrong, but I have been through it on the other side.) And really, thesis writing in Venice? Strange touch. Most grad and post-grad students I know (including myself) would pay off their loans pronto. And even if rich Joanna didn't have any, working-class Deborah must have. Okay, enough with the unreality reactions.
Even the writing is weak - redundant verbiage, several blatant typos (there's a HUGE difference between a laparoscopy and a laparatomy - just compare the scars), and some jarring dialogue that snapped me right out of the storyline saying "Huh? Who talks like that?"
The concept is freaky enough to hold interest, however, and as the "shock"ing discoveries pile on and the pace picks up things do get better. Unfortunately the end is first stereotyped ("____ will help us!" Yeah, right...) and then abruptly truncated. Unless he's setting up a sequel, I'm tempted to believe this novel was churned out under severe time pressure without a lot of care put into it.
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