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Miracle Cure Paperback – September 27, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Coben ( Play Dead ) adroitly applies the fundamental rules of thrillerdom (offer a raft of potential villains; keep the action moving at breakneck speed) in this highly entertaining novel about a conspiracy apparently designed to prevent the development of a cure for AIDS. When one of a trio of research scientists on the brink of coming up with an AIDS antidote dies, it looks like suicide, but TV journalist Sara Lowell and her husband, NBA star Michael Silverman, who are friends of the clinic's founder, think otherwise. Their suspicions are confirmed when several clinic patients, including the son of a U.S. senator, are murdered. A televangelist with his own agenda, Sara's prominent physician father, and a high-ranking government official all seem intent upon derailing the AIDS research, a situation that becomes most personal when Michael is diagnosed with the disease. Police lieutenant "Twitch" Bernstein, a closet homosexual, ultimately comes face-to-face with the person responsible for the killings. The final revelation of the identity of the master conspirator comes as a real surprise. This page-turner also raises some interesting questions about medical research and its funding.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
YA-- Coben casts a dynamic, beautiful, and successful woman, Sara Lowell, and her handsome and famous sports figure, Michael Silverman, as his main characters. Their friend, Dr. Harvey Riker, takes them into his confidence when he tells them that his medical clinic has discovered a cure for AIDS. To his horror, his cured patients are being murdered by a serial killer dubbed the Gay Slasher by the media. Sara's father is in stiff competition with Riker for funding of his cancer clinic and her sister, Cassandra, is romantically involved with the doctor. When Michael collapses on the basketball court and is diagnosed as HIV positive, tracking down the murderer and supporting Riker's clinic take on new dimensions for Sara. This is a fast moving mystery that's sure to capture YAs' attention, especially in light of today's headlines.
- Katherine Fitch, Lake Braddock Secondary School, Burke, VA
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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"Mircacle Cure" has a lot of problems. The most egregious is the storyline, which revolves around the HIV/AIDS crisis and the search for a cure; and is badly dated. It includes a fallacious debate about the morality of AIDS sufferers, where more than one person posits that victims contract the disease because they are gay or drug users. More than more than hurtful comments, they totally omit any reference to the millions of non-drug using heterosexual victims of the disease worldwide. Who the principal victims of AIDS were was a known fact even in 1991 when this novel was written.
"Miracle Cure" includes a serial killer and a high-level conspiracy to torpedo research being done to develop a vaccine to stop AIDS. Those elements are the book's greatest strengths although the conspiracy angle is never fully resolved at book's end. The novel's characters--a pro basketball player, a popular TV journalist, politicians, scientists and assorted family members--had interesting possibilities, but they are not really fully developed. The one exception is the serial killer who is described in careful detail, but ultimately becomes nothing more than a device to further the storyline.
Author Corben in his opening warning about the book states that for all of the book's flaws, he still admires it for its energy and risk-taking. I don't share that view. This just isn't very good writing. So why reprint it now? The publisher must have seen a way of squeezing some extra bucks out of the author's present reputation as a leading bestseller. It's a shame that Coben didn't at least insist on revising some of the weakest parts of the book.
The plot is contrived, the characters are corny, and the theme is pro-gay to the point of being preachy. The sex scenes are sleazy and made me feel like I was reading pornography.
Despite the fact that this book reads like a manual on how not to write a good novel, somehow, Coben makes the reader want to know what happens next. Nowhere near the page-turning caliber of his later novels, Coben's gift as a story teller still manages to come through loud-and-clear.