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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 13 November 2005
Oh, for the heady days of Coma, Sphinx and Fever! Cook is back with a "business as usual" medical thriller, Marker. It is not so much disappointing (it is still an enjoyable read)just routine in the way it unfolds. Even the characters - Jack Stapleton and Laurie Montgomery are returning from previous novels. The added spice of their relationship now taking a part in the unfolding action.
Cook spins an abosrbing tale and part of his charm is the mixture of intense medical detail/background with romping yarns of subterfuge and murder. His characters (particularly his female ones) seem to have rather "naff" thought processes and some of the dialogue makes you cringe. But it's fun. Marker hits all these same highs and lows, but there is a terrible sense of "being there before". Some of his more recent novels - particularly Contagion and Vector - have gripped a lot more than this, mainly due to suprising plot turns. Marker have none of these.
Good for the Cook fans, but let's have something a bit different and, hopefully, a bit sooner.
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This novel sees the return of New York City medical examiner, Laurie Montgomery, and NYPD homicide detective, Lou Saldano, to whom I was first introduced in the author's medical mystery thriller, "Blindsight". This pretty much follows the formula in that book.

Here, young, reasonably healthy adults enter the hospital for seemingly routine minor surgery and end up dying while hospitalized. Our intrepid medical examiner senses that there is something wrong afoot, as she takes notice of this but cannot initially ascertain what the problem is. As the death toll mounts up, Laurie knows that the law of probability is against these deaths being accidental. She thinks that there is a serial killer afoot, but she does not know how or why. More galling to her is the fact that no one seems to share her concerns initially, although she does confide her concerns to Detective Saldano. Unfortunately, his hands are tied, because the medical examiner's office is not classifying these deaths as homicides.

Set against the backdrop of this medical conundrum is the personal angst Laurie is suffering because of the reluctance of Jack Stapleton, her long term significant other and fellow medical examiner, to commit to marrying her and having children. Since Laurie is forty three and her biological clock is in countdown mode, she won't take no for an answer this time. Consequently, she and Jack seem to be going their separate ways, and Laurie meets up with a another doctor, one who is in a successful private practice and seems smitten by Laurie.

The author weaves a fine plot, even though the author's cookie-cutter characters and limp dialogue leave something to be desired. The reader will know who the killer is relatively early, but why the killings are taking place is what is at the heart of this book. Still, the clever plot will keep the reader eagerly turning the pages of this book. Although though the discerning reader will probably solve the mystery long before Laurie and Lou do so, the plot will still keep the reader turning the pages of this entertaining, quick read. The book is also a social commentary on the evils inherent in managed health care.
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on 25 February 2007
Several unexpected deaths of young and seemingly healthy people, in hospital with minor surgeries, catch medical examiner Laurie's attention. She suspects criminal activity and starts looking for clues. Laurie also has problems in her private relationship with colleague Jack. And so the stage is set.

Although "Marker" has a basic plot Robin Cook has used several times before, the main issues, modern health care and medical research, should
have made "Marker" another safe page-turning winner in his authorship.
When they fail to do so, at least partly, it is in my opinion because the book is too long. It starts out very slow, with lots of detailed medical terms, boring to people with no medical background. As the story unfolds, it does improve but very slowly. Actually, it's not until very late in the book that the story comes to life, and the last third is in fact of unputdownable quality.

To me an extensive edit of the first two thirds of the book, cutting down on medical terms and explanations as well as other repetitious and tedious information, would bring the story to life and catch the readers' attention from the very beginning.

One thing is a big improvement in this book. Cook has in previous works had a tendency to use rather "flat" language, with little linguistic variation. The prose in "Marker" is excellent. Just a little bit less of it, and five stars would have been a given.
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on 26 May 2014
This was a good, fast paced medical thriller with enough human interest to keep the reader waiting for the next turn of events .
The reason for a four, rather than five star rating is that it is not the best Robin Cook book I have read. I have found several of his other books more interesting, and utilising more suspense than this one.
I love the medical content which always explains the crux of the matter in each of his books ..and can be optimistic or frightening as to the outcomes of the way medical discoveries may be used.
Some of the dialogue I found a bit trite and less emotional than I think it should have been. Also some parts of the story made major events appear overly superficial, where I would have expected more of an emotional response, as , has been the case in other of Robin Cooks books.
However, a good read, fast paced, enough twists and turns and unexpected moves to keep you on edge. A good read.
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on 21 May 2013
I have been a Robin Cook fan since the early days, but I found this more modern 'thriller' less than thrilling. There was far too much focus on the introspection of the main characters, and not enough on the medicine or storyline. The dialogue between the characters is often lame and drawn out; and the author's obsession with "passive aggressive" throughout the book grated from the very first mention. Sadly, even the plot of this novel is obvious, with the lack of usual twists and turns to entertain. To summarise, if I wanted this much angst in a book, I would read one of the Twilight novels.

As an aside, the Kindle layout leaves a lot to be desired, with breaks between paragraphs often missing.
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on 20 December 2014
Accomplished author Robin Cooks' medical background provides a detailed and well written story. A city medical examiner begins to suspect that some of the cases appearing on her autopsy table may be linked. A number of hospital patients - all having had recent surgery and expected to recover normally - suddenly pass away shortly after the procedure. Our examiner is not convinced that their deaths are all 'natural' . But when her boss dismisses her claim she starts to dig. Then it's no longer just the hospital patients lives at risk. Well put together taut and tense writing easy to see why this author is a favourite.
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on 18 June 2007
This is the first book I read by R. Cook. A compelling read, full of twists and turns when the two main characters, Laurie and Jack, come across a series of inexplicable deaths of healthy young people who just had successful, often minor, surgery. The search for the truth behind all this exposes them to real danger, especially Laurie whom believes a killer is on the loose right from the very start. Meanwhile, their personal life and relationship are also at stake for a variety of reasons, mainly because Jack is hesitant to fully commit and start a family. At the same time, Laurie has a few nasty surprises regarding her health and it is at this point that she risks to become the next victim herself...

I liked this book and think it is a page turner. Some medical language is reported in an easy to read form and, coming from the author who's a doctor himself, I believe that it carries, beyond the fiction, a message for the public to look into certain issues about the present medical private insurance in the USA and not only.
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on 11 June 2007
This is the 19th Robin Cook medical thriller I havre read, so you could say I'm quite a fan. Marker is quite a typical Robin Cook novel. The main characters (my fav Cook characters) are Jack and Laurie, the New York medical examiners who have 'stared' in several previous works. I did guess a lot of what was going to happen before it did. Not sure if Cook has written a predictible story or just that reading so many of his books has tuned my mind into his way of thinking!
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on 15 April 2007
The beginning of this book is very slow however it picks up and races to a winning finish.

The story line revolves around a serial killer haunting the Manhatten General Hospital and the surrounding related investigation.

I found it pretty hard to get into but towards the end of the book I couldn't put it down. Enjoy!
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on 12 April 2007
This was a book true to the form of Robin cool. His new previous books have somewhat disappointed me but this one is a winner. not only is there the medical intrigue but there is also the underlying romantic deal with Jack and laurie and a few others to boot! Couldn't put this book down!
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