Customer Reviews: Vital Signs
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Robin Cook is at his best when his medical thrillers stay focused and are more suspenseful. Now Cook is trying to turn his medical thrillers into convoluted espionage thrillers, taking his characters all over the world. Here we go to Australia, Hong Kong and China. Drawn out, unbelievable situations and meandering dialogue draw this book down. I liked the character of Tristan Williams, but both Marissa and Wendy get a little too much, and I can't blame husband Robert for his disdain with Marissa's antics. Of all the Cook books (ha, no pun intended) I've read, this is his least effective.
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on March 22, 1999
If you have read Contagion or Terminal then you have read Vital Signs. Although, these two books are better than Vital Signs. I am a big Robin Cook fan but this book was not upto his usual standards. It was very predictable and yet the ending was very drawn out. It became frustrating the further I read. It also has the typical Robin Cook conspiracy behind it, which is what makes it so predictable. Chose one of his earlier works if you want a thriller.
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on November 10, 2001
This one was not exactly up to par. It was a little far fetched and you knew the end at least halfway into the book. If you're looking for something quick to read, go for it. If you're looking for something that is a little bit more believable and edge of your seat, try another one of his books.
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on June 28, 2005
I would have to say that this is one of the most disappointing books I have read in a long time. I know no one will probably read this review but I just have to get this off my chest.

When you read the back of a Robin Cook book, it sounds so promising. I enjoy medical dramas so I am always drawn to them but I have to say his earlier work is just terrible.

The main character is extremely irritating and annoying. I felt no sympathy towards her at all. Come to think of it, I didn't like anyone in this book! The lack of emotion shown when people died was totally unrealistic and totally insensitive.

Also I am from Brisbane, Australia where some of the book is set. I found myself getting more and more annoyed with the 'tourist book' writing.

This book was just too predictable and badly written. I have read a few of Robin's newer books and they do get better. But unfortunately I have just read too many bad ones so I am giving up!
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on September 21, 2012
As usual, I enjoy reading Robin Cook's books, especially on my Kindle. Sometimes his books are nerveracking. This one was interesting without being too nervewracking. It had a pleasant ending.

I agree with Cook's take on the current health care issues.
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on February 27, 2002
For those of you who don't know, Vital Signs is the continuation of Cook's character Marissa Blumenthal from Outbreak.
In this novel, we find Marissa married and wanting a child. However, Marissa is barren, and it is the conspiracy behind her (and many other women's) infertility that is the basis for the rest of the novel.
First of all, Marissa's new husband received no introduction whatsoever. Not being mentioned in Outbreak, he seems like a character thrown in there to make the plot work. I hate characters like soul, just a name on a piece of paper.
Second, what little personality of the characters that existed was so inconsistant from one scene to the next that it was annoying.
The plot was thrown together quite carelessly. Except for the medical knowledge present in the novel, I got the feeling that Cook didn't spend too much time worrying about trivial things as advancing a plausable plot. His characters are unbelievable...
good guys or bad.
As always, Cook's prose is awkward. Anyone should be able to tell he wasn't an English major. However, his style is easy to read, which is probably where much of his sucess stems from.
Anyway, if you want an intense read, read somethign else. If you want something to fill the time, this will do just fine.
Vital Signs is nothing spectacular (or even mediocre), but if you are bored this should cure it.
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on September 19, 1998
Although Robin Cook is a good medical thriller writer, I was a bit disappointed in this specific novel. I took an immediate dislike to the lead female character, Marissa, when she blamed her husband for being insensitive and worried about only money. I felt her attitude was insenstive as well, since her husband obviously felt uncomfortable about in-vetro fertilization and did not want to continue. I felt that she had been callous towards his feelings, and it cannot be said that he did not want any. He was even willing to adopt. The plot was a bit thin too, when it seemed a bit transparent as to why the Chinese doctors were present. As in most of his books, money played a major part in the scheme. It just took a matter of figuring out how money could be made. I would have to say that Vital Signs had not exactly matched my expectations compared to his other novels.
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on April 4, 2001
Not one of Robin Cook's best for sure, but it is an old one, and he has since improved. The basic plot is that a large Mafia type organization has somehow conspired to obtain an amazing amount of business with an in-vitro fertilization program, and our hero, Marissa, begins to smell a rat. I'll let the book take you from there, but I do have to say that when Robin Cook gets into the emotional and stressful aspects of the inability to conceive, he shows an enormous insight. I thought of all the racing around and drama and suspense, this insight was the absolute best portion of the book. I'm certain that few authors, or doctors, for that matter, could have done better with this aspect. For this reason alone I gave it four stars. I think couples undergoing fertility problems should read this book if only for that reason.
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on July 15, 2001
Being a fan of medical thrillers and Robin Cook in particular I can understand the frustration som readers have felt that this book is not believable. This more than some of his later works is a fictional romp backed up with some alarming medical facts. As in all his books the premise is the same, this time a doctoe desperate for a baby is in IVF. Her rare condition turns out not to be rare. She and an old friend, another doctoe with the same condition become suspicious. What was a departure for Cook was the chase round the world as they are persued by mafia, triads and gangsters. If you read it with the understanding it is only a piece of fiction you won't be disappointed.
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on May 17, 2009
As some one who typically enjoys spy thrillers and murder mysteries the back cover of this book looked like an interesting possibility. I was wrong. Robin Cooks attempt to capture your imagination fell far short. From the implausible world travels of the main character to her new found friends the whole thing was contrived and ridiculous. The whirl wind climax, complete with high level ties to the CDC and escape from a communist country was beyond ridiculous. Oh and the bodies that were left a long the way??? What ever became of them Marissa???? Save your time and a few bucks, look elswhere unless you just want to laugh at how poorly the story is told.
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