host by robin cook book coverReviewed by Jenna Arthur

In Host, Carl, the main character Lynn Peirce’s boyfriend, goes into the hospital for routine surgery.  Lynn thinks nothing of it until she is told Carl is brain dead. Her life is turned upside down by the devastating news; as a medical student, she decides to use her knowledge to investigate what went so alarmingly wrong during his surgery. Carl was healthy–an active, healthy 29 year old man with a passion for life and for running. His surgery was one probably performed a thousand times a day. But this time, this surgery left the patient permanently unconscious. Lynn can’t understand. Along with her lab partner, Michael, she delves head-first into the world of Middleton Healthcare and its pharmaceutical counterpart to find out why something so routine turned into something so deadly. Lynn’s curiosity with Michael’s no nonsense nature make them the perfect team to expose this maniacal and deadly plot.

Not knowing what they would uncover, Michael and Lynn’s further investigation into malpractice uncovers a devastating fact–Carl’s death is not an isolated event. In fact, there has been a suspicious number of anesthetic related deaths and mysteriously contracted and sometimes fatal diseases in the hospital. Dozens of patients are being stored, in vegetative states, in another facility owned by the same company. Is Middleton and its counterpart performing some type of a sick and twisted experiment? What reason could a hospital and a pharmaceutical company possibly have for causing the deaths of so many people? The farther Michael and Lynn go, the darker the secrets, and as they get closer to the conspiracy, those who wish to keep their secrets buried get closer to finding them.

Though the Host’s plot may sound interesting, this book, unfortunately, is a poor attempt at a modern rewrite of Robin Cook’s Coma. The slow nature makes this book hard to invest in and does little to pull the reader in. Cook’s insistent use of repetitive 1950’s type adjectives related to women and African American men make the book even harder to latch onto. Throughout the entire book the author consistently tells the reader that Michael does and says things because he’s black or Lynn does or says things because she’s a woman. These characterizations add nothing to the story and instead take away from it, leaving the reader’s mind focused more on Michael’s race and Lynn’s gender and forcing them to wonder how this is supposed to be a modern day plot. Coma’s plot should have stayed its own, with Host, a lesser book with a similar plot, rehashed and edited.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Jenna lives in the bustling city of Pittsburgh with her wife and furry children. She loves to cook, watch movies, and looks for inspiration in every book she reads.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.