With Robin Cook’s Marker, we see the return of Laurie Montgomery a forensic pathologist for the New York City medical examiner’s office along with her romantic partner and colleague, Dr. Jack Stapleton. These two in conjunction with Lou Saldano (a NYPD homicide detective) join forces in a case so terrifyingly realistic that the reader will feel the need to look at what could occur if a sadistic serial killer were found to be working within a managed care insurance company and had possession of an individual’s human genome tests. This eerily chilling tale takes its premise from the fact that the healthcare environment today revolves around actuaries, rather than patient care, showing a disregard for human life by the managed care industry. Couple this with the unraveling romantic relationship between Dr. Stapleton and Dr. Montgomery, until they must join forces to save Laurie’s life after the mega conglomerate AmeriCare takes over their healthcare needs, and then throw in a remarkably clever serial killer, with a shocking motive and you have a compelling story line.
The plot itself begins when Laurie sees a pattern evolving in which otherwise, reasonably healthy, young adults are dying after routine, minor surgeries but as the death toll mounts, Laurie knows that the law of probability is against these deaths being accidental. More galling to her, however, is that initially no one seems to share her concerns except Detective Saldano, whose hands are tied because the medical examiner’s office isn’t classifying these deaths as homicides. Set against this backdrop is a subplot regarding Laurie and Jack’s relationship that is forcing a showdown due to her biological clock’s countdown.One negative to the novel is that the reader will know who the killer is relatively early, but do not give up because the clever plot revolves around why they are being committed not who the killer is. Also, be aware that Cook is using this novel to give us a social commentary on the evils inherent within the managed care system but because of his concise and well-written language I found it an easy and enjoyable read.
Marker may not have been on a par with some of his earlier works like Toxin it was still an exceptionally well written piece of the medical mystery genre having me give it a 4 star rating. For additional information on Robin Cook or any of his previous twenty-five novels be sure to check out the available entries listed on the google search engine.
[tags]book review, Robin Cook, Marker, book report, google, medical mystery, suspense, murder[/tags]