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Miracle Cure Hardcover – 2011

3.9 out of 5 stars 348 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 511 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Book Club Edition edition (2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617932159
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617932151
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (348 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
MIRACLE CURE is one of Harlan Coben's first novels, written in 1991 when he was in his mid-to-late twenties. The novel is essentially a fast-paced whodunit about a series of murders involving the recipients of an experimental AIDS vaccine. This book is now out-of-print and almost impossible to find. I'm a big fan of Coben's work, and I was lucky enough to track down a very old copy of this novel in my local library.

This novel did very little for Coben's writing career. MIRACLE CURE didn't sell very well, and it would be another four years before Coben wrote his next novel, DEAL BREAKER, which introduced Myron Bolitar. I recently read an interview with Coben where he openly admitted that this novel was bad.

MIRACLE CURE isn't exactly terrible, but it is easily the worst written novel I have ever read by Coben. The characterization in this book is pretty cardboard, and most of the dialogue is rather stilted and flat. The plot is slow-paced at the beginning, and then quickly spirals out of control toward the end, with one overblown plot twist after another.

This is also the most political book written by Coben, with a very strong gay-rights stance and many barbs aimed at religious conservatives who oppose AIDS funding (in fairness, there's a twist at the end that will probably annoy a lot of liberals too). I'm guessing that some of the political views taken by Coben in this book were probably quite daring at the time. Unfortunately, some of the scenes in this book are overly preachy, which may even annoy readers who agree with Coben's beliefs.

I was also somewhat surprised by some of the rather graphic sexuality and language in this book.
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Format: Paperback
Harlan Coben's first two novels Play Dead (1990) and Miracle Cure (1991) were published by a small publishing company called Judy Piatkus. Obviously this publisher wants a substantial amount of money now that Coben is one of the top and highest selling modern authors, to give up the rights to these two stories but we've just seen Play Dead re-released so there is hope for Miracle Cure to come out by a mass market publisher in the future. Coben's current publisher doesn't even acknowledge these two books exist in the previous novels lists at the front of their books. This means the first miracle is you find out these two novels exist, and the second is that you can get yourself a copy. You should though, they are both very good novels.

Miracle Cure isn't quite in the masterpiece league of his debut novel Play Dead or what he achieved with Tell No One and the other independent storyline (non Myron Bolitar) novels, but it is still a very good novel. Written when the paranoia of AIDS was at its height and before it crossed massively into the heterosexual community and many people saw it as a homosexual or drug addict disease, Coben through his characters argues adamantly that funds need to be allocated to find a cure for this disease. Unfortunately 19 years after this story was published we still haven't found a cure, but this book asks the question of what would happen if we had and a powerful bigoted element of society who did whatever it took to stop that cure being known.

Like with Play Dead (and later the Bolitar novels) one of the main characters is a basketball star.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Author Harlan Coben has inserted a signed note in the front of this new printing of "Miracle Cure" that urges readers who haven't read any of his other books to put this book down immediately. He goes on to critique the story and explain that it's one of his first novels. I respect his honesty and wish that I had taken his advice about trying another book.

"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?
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