Picks and Pans Review: Terminal

updated 02/15/1993 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/15/1993 01:00AM

by Robin Cook

A young Harvard medical intern arrives at a renowned Miami research center only to learn that he won't be studying brain cancer as he had expected. He also discovers that a nurse, lamentably oversmitten with him, has followed him down from Cambridge.

From this simple setup, Cook (Coma, Brain) launches his 13th medical thriller. Within a few pages, the research center's methods begin to look sinister and the young doc joins up with the nurse to expose the hideous truth. Cook tosses in every available plot device. (The center's Japanese backers send an assassin to snuff out the hero; a hospital orderly turned serial killer sets his sights on the nurse; a wild chase to Key West ends in a hostage standoff.)

Cook has always been more interested in the turn of a page than the turn of a phrase. Characters are one-dimensional, and the dialogue is dosed with medical jargon to remind you that the author holds an M.D. At least the plot is tight (if slightly implausible at points) and provides a fast, painless and enjoyable lesson in the excesses of scientific research. (Putnam, $21.95)

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