Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Title: Contagion
Series: Jack Stapleton & Laurie Montgomery, #2
Author: Robin Cook
Publisher: Pan
Publication Date: June 6, 1997
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Reviewed by: Angie Edwards
My rating: 5/5


This tale of deadly epidemic spread features Dr John Stapleton, a forensic pathologist hardened by his experiences of personal and professional loss. When a series of lethal illnesses strike seemingly at random in New York City, Stapleton suspects he has stumbled on a diabolical conspiracy.


Have you read any of Robin Cook’s books yet? No? NO??!! Dude!! You have no idea what you’re missing out on! We’re talking epidemic, deadly viruses, panic, conspiracies, drama, confusion, medical negligence, and gangsters! And of course, as with any good medical drama worth its salt, at the center of it all are two competing corporate healthcare giants out to make a quick profit AND an ad company with a near-impossible deadline. If this sounds to you like a heady mix of suspense, intrigue, and holy-crap-hope-this-never-happens-to-us chills, then right you are. Seriously, you have to read this. Contagion is also my first Robin Cook experience, so I won’t judge you for not having read any of his novels yet.

Right, so I mentioned the panic and conspiracy theories, a plague, and other killer diseases. But there are a ton more elements that made this both an exciting and disturbing read. The scariest thing for me was that this could really happen. It might seem unlikely that a break-out with such devastating consequences as described in this story could occur in a real-life large, bustling, modern hospital, but I personally believe it’s possible. Even if you don’t believe such a likelihood exists, Contagion will definitely convince you otherwise. 

Here we have a spectacular cast of characters to keep track of. Most characters have minor roles, and some more important, but each character is crucial in moving the plot along. It is clear that a good amount of time was spent on developing every character no matter how big or small their part in this story. From start to end, there is absolutely no indication of who the guilty party might be. Yet, when the big reveal is done, you’ll probably ask yourself why you hadn’t suspected that person(s) from the start. I love when an author is detail-oriented, but doesn’t weigh the reader down with too much unnecessary information about the setting and characters’ histories. Robin Cook balances all this perfectly and sticks to the storyline without too much explanation (though a lot of the medical- and biological terminology went right over my head).

You know what I liked most about Jack’s character? His go-getter attitude. He asks questions, gather as much information as he can, and then immediately goes out looking for the answers. He doesn’t even care how many toes he steps on along the way. Plus, he does all this while adding his own patented brand of tongue-in-cheek humor, intentionally provoking the tempers of his superiors, the staff at Manhattan General Hospital where the first plague outbreak occurred, and the corporate heads at healthcare giant, AmeriCare. Jack is fearless, yet vulnerable, and I soon realized I’m rapidly developing a soft spot for this character.

One of Jack’s best lines in my opinion (with which I share the same sentiment):

“The problem is that I’ve developed an aversion to mediocrity.”

The only issues I had was that the ending felt a little blunt, and the motivation behind the spread of the deadly diseases wasn’t as impressive as the continued build-up throughout the story led me to believe it would be. Although, I did like how it ended for the antagonist(s), so I’m giving Contagion an easy five stars. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this book. Want to know what lengths some people will go to to get what they want? Yes? Then this book was written for you. If not, read it anyway because it’s kick-ass!  

Amazon    *    Barnes & Noble


Dr. Robin Cook (born May 4, 1940 in New York City, New York) is an American doctor / novelist who writes about medicine and topics affecting public health.

He is best known for being the author who combined medical writing with the thriller genre of writing. Several of his books have been bestsellers on the "New York Times" Bestseller List. Several of his books have also been featured in Reader's Digest.

Website    *    Facebook    *    Goodreads

Follow us with: 

1 comment:

Wanda Hartzenberg said...

So glad you loved it, the ending has a reason all it's own. But I will not spoil it for you.