Customer Review

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just didn't deliver the goods, August 18, 2009
This review is from: Intervention (Hardcover)
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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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 19, 2009 2:33:35 AM PDT
book worm says:
All "thriller" and "mystery" novels require a suspension of disbelief. The author of this review (which is excellent, incidentally) certainly knows that. Jack and Laurie are now married with a child. Certainly their private conversations would change due the changed circumstances. Too many novelists stick to the same tired formulas with the same characters which, in most cases, I enjoy as I have "history" with them. Of course the story line is "over the top" but it was nonetheless fun. I know the cut off of the "investigation" into alternate medical treatments was essentially was early on, but the ending of the book (the last couple of pages) brings out the irony of non-medical solutions. I have some complaints about how the leadership of the Catholic Church was presented but that is the author's opinion and who am I to be critical of that? Five stars.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2009 5:33:50 AM PDT
the ending did indeed tie into Jack's semi-crusade against alternative medicine.
My problem wasn't so much with what Jack and Laurie said (in any given circumstance) but how they said it. It's actually pretty difficult to just seemed...'stiff' or 'forced'...there was a certain robotic cadence to the way they spoke...nearly stuffy if you will...

I can't come up with any specific example because I actually finished this book over a week prior to posting the review...I'd gotten the book and finished it so early that when I came on to Amazon to write my review, the option wasn't even available because the book had just come out! So I could only rate it and had to do my review at a later date.

In any event, it's nice to see someone actually read my review for a change! lol

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2009 5:55:50 AM PDT
book worm says:
I think your review is great. My comments do not detract from that at all. It is like tasting soup. Some people like more salt than others. Keep up your good work.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2009 2:53:02 PM PDT
Didn't think you were trying to detract from my review at all! Completely understand where you're coming from. Thanks again for checking the review out though! I don't get many comments =) Usually it's because I'm johnny come lately to alot of series and I'm reviewing books that came out in the 80s and
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