Picks and Pans Review: Fever
by Robin Cook
Readers who enjoy medical scare stories and who made Cook's Coma and Brain into best-sellers probably will like Fever, which is the same sort of low-pop fiction. (Cook's 1979 novel Sphinx was an adventure tale set in Egypt without any medical benefits to redeem it.) The hero this time is a physician who becomes a researcher after his first wife dies of cancer. As the story begins, his young daughter is discovered to have leukemia. The doctor soon is battling conservative (and sinister) colleagues who disapprove of the experimental treatment he is using on the child. Cancer is a terrifying subject, and if Cook, a Columbia-trained eye surgeon, had greater skills as a writer, this might have been a chilling book. The plot is made trendy by a polluting factory, which is blamed for causing leukemia. The prose is distressingly clichéd. "Violence for Wally was as good as sex, maybe even better because it was less complicated," Cook writes of a minor character who is, of course, about to commit violence. One comes away wondering why the author hasn't been sued for literary malpractice. (Putnam, $13.95)
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