Picks and Pans Review: Godplayer

updated 08/08/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/08/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Robin Cook

A famous and handsome heart surgeon at a Boston hospital loves nothing better than cutting his way into a man's chest and straightening up the mess inside. But after years of routinely doing these bypass operations every morning, the old thrill is fading. His beautiful young wife, a psychiatrist who has diabetes, discovers that her masterful hubby is into pills: Percodan, Demerol, Valium, morphine, Talwin, Dexedrine—everything the other side of aspirin. But everyone thinks she is going crazy when she hints her husband might be having a little problem. Her friend, a gay pathologist, is investigating a series of mysterious deaths among heart patients. This is the old menaced-heroine story in a medical setting, one that Cook knows well. He is a surgeon who has written three other medical best-sellers, Coma, Brain and Fever. The opening scene in Godplayer, in which a patient dies despite the surgeon's efforts to save him, is gripping. The rest is an anticlimax, because Cook's characters are limp dolls marching through a familiar plot. For Cook fans, Godplayer may be a page-turner; for the squeamish, it's a stomach-turner. Whatever you do, don't give this book to anyone in the hospital. (Putnam's, $14.95)

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