As I believe I’ve mentioned before, my best friend in the whole wide world and I bonded initially over books in 6th grade. One of the things that she introduced me to was the concept of a medical thriller. She was a huge fan of Robin Cook, and Michael Palmer, and Michael Cordy. In the years since I initially devoured those books en masse, I have revisited them occasionally — and found myself to be disappointed pretty much every time. Not only at the writing of the books themselves, but also in my very bad taste at the time. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop rereading them, especially since I keep finding them at garage sales for a quarter each.
This particular book, written sometime in the late 1990s (in fact, late enough that I don’t think I’ve read this one before), stars a cardiologist named Brian Holbrook. He’s trying to get his life back on track after a painkiller addiction derailed his marriage and his career. Meanwhile, his extremely stubborn father is suffering from heart disease. Holbrook gets a job at a hospital in Boston (it’s always Boston), where a trial has started on new drug for cardiac patients. Determined to get his father on the trial, he breaks all sorts of rules (like, SO CASUALLY), and in the process discovers a deep dark secret about the drug itself (of course).
I will admit that the twist at the end of the story was pretty good — that is, what Brian finds out is the real truth about this drug (not the betrayal — the betrayal can be seen a mile away). But the characters are so poorly written. There’s this one nurse who exists solely to press her breast up against Brian’s upper arm. I think it happens three or four times. All of the women are incredibly gorgeous and also…kind of smart. It’s the sort of book that you can plow through in a couple evenings (in fact, I read most of it in a waiting room at the doctor’s office on Monday), shaking your head at the horribleness but unable to put it down.