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Gurglings of a Putrid Stream

Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.

See also:  http://goppf.wikidot.com/swstart

My name:  Brian Martin

Coma by Robin Cook

Coma - Robin Cook

Coma starts out so well and encompasses such a wonderfully sinister plot that it's a shame it had to be written by Robin Cook. I read the author's Shock not too long ago. In the nearly 25 years that had elapsed between the publication of the books, Cook clearly hadn't learned a thing about creating believable characters or plot complications. Why should he, when his books are bestsellers?

Cook writes like a bad TV show: if you don't approach it passively, you can't possibly enjoy it. That's how it is with Coma. From the moment our heroine, a bright young medical student, ditches her hospital duties to pursue her own investigation into a couple of odd cases of unexplained coma, the book goes off the rails. This occurs at the one-third point in the book. It occurs on the very first day of our heroine's first clinical assignment.

Naturally, she's gorgeous. Naturally, she's a feminist who detests chauvinism. Naturally, if she weren't gorgeous, none of the crap that follows would ever have happened. That's because the only thing that buys her time to dig into the mysterious coma cases while shirking her responsibilities as a student is a young doctor bedazzled by her beauty. Chauvinism rules.

It just gets dumber from there. This is one of those books where the police exist, but it's as if they just appeared on Earth and no one really knows whether they're very bright or trustworthy. And isn't it safer in that situation just to assume they're morons? In any case, that's what Susan, our heroine, does. At one point in the book, she's in a position to hand them an actual real live hit man on a platter to back up her case, but she decides instead to go see her would-be boyfriend (he's the chauvinist bastard she can't quite figure out if she likes or not, and who may, she thinks, be involved with the bad guys anyway).

I'd have to throw out one spoiler after another to catalog the stupidities in this book, so I'll leave it at that. The medical portions are fun and realistically detailed. The plot, once revealed, is disturbing--though undercut somewhat by some ridiculous dialogue. It's an okay book on a superficial level, but the reader should keep in mind that the title of the book is also a potential side-effect.