Cook's writing in this novel is mediocre, at best. Yes, his in-depth knowledge of medicine is evident, but maybe a little too evident. Case in point, when he's describing the main character, Susan Wheeler, he says of her physical appearance that she had, " . . . that American, Californian style that made eyes turn and hypothalamuses awaken." Oh, please! That description is, for lack of a better word, cheesy. Who describes someone in such medical terms? It's the kind of comment one doctor might make to another, but for the general reading public, it's just bad - laughably bad. This is only one example. There are several others where it seems the author wants to ensure the reader recognizes his abundant medical knowledge, when his energies would have been better spent focusing on character- and plot-development.
Another hurdle I couldn't overcome was his writing style. He often introduces a character, then repeatedly refers to the character by name when a simple pronoun would suffice. "To Bellows it was incomprehensible how an individual could do so much bodily damage to himself and still keep it up. Bellows did not smoke; Bellows had never smoked. It was incomprehensible to Bellows . . . " I felt like screaming, "Yes, I understand you're talking about BELLOWS!"
I know it sounds as though I'm being petty, but bad writing really bothers me, and this book seems to be chock-full of it. Maybe when I return this book to the library I'll check out another one of Cook's novels, just to give him a fair shot.