Been a while since i have read anything that was not a Journal article for my research project. I decided to pick up another Robin Cook medical thriller book.

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PIA GRAZDANI is an exceptional yet aloof medical student working closely with Columbia University Medical Center’s premier scientist on cutting-edge research that could revolutionize health care by creating replacement organs for critically ill patients. Thorough her work with the brilliant molecular geneticist Dr. Tobias Rothman, Pia knows she will be given the chance to fulfill her ambition to participate in medical discoveries that can help millions while bringing her a measure of personal peace that might once and for all push aside memories of her difficult and abusive childhood.But when tragedy strikes in the lab, Pia, with the help of infatuated classmate George Wilson, must investigate the unforeseen calamity in the hospital’s supposedly secure biosafety lab.

Meanwhile, two ex-Wall Street whiz kids think they have found another loadstone in the nation’s multi-trillion dollar life insurance industry. They race to find ways to control actuarial data and securitize the policies of the aged and infirm to make another killing.

As Pia and George dig deeper into the events at the lab one question remains unanswered: is someone attempting to manipulate private insurance information to allow investors to benefit from the deaths of others?

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This book started off strong. I liked the whole premise of the science of this book- a world famous virologist working on growing organs for patients to meet the transplant demands of modern society. I enjoyed the relationship between Rothman and Pia and was looking forward to see it grow throughout the book…and it was a shame when this proved to not be the case. The plot of this book was set up at the beginning to be interesting- a conspiracy funded by businessmen making millions of life insurance trying to stop the effects of Rothman and Pia’s research destroying their business as people are living longer and surviving past the normal life expectancy of their chronic disease.

 I would have loved more depth to this part of the story-uncovering the life-insurance scam and releasing the research of Rothman and his team to the world as a great feat of science. However this aspect of the book was completely left behind, and instead focused on the Albanian mob and the hit placed on Pia to keep her from telling the truth regarding her supervisors death. The fine line that Cook toed in his previous book, making the book enough action without sacrificing character development and science was completely crossed in this book, and i found the ending and the pay-off was a complete letdown. Pia was created to be a strong women, with some issue due to her harsh upbringing in foster care, and i was looking forward to delving more into her psyche. I was also stoked that we saw Jack and Laurie from his other series and again wished there was more involvement and more payoff with their inclusion into the story, rather then being there just to have that cross over and to tie up some rogue loose ends.

‘Death Benefit’ started off strong, but fell flat with the ending. While the science and initial premise of the book was exciting, as well as the introduction of some interesting characters, Pia for example, it seemed to get focused on action and fails to flesh out these other aspects of the book past the first few 100 pages.

An interesting read, but could have been so much better.


Let me know what you think and as always don’t hesitate to give me suggestions!

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