If all you require from a medical thriller is lots of sexy, highfalutin doc-speak, then, ooh baby, does Cook have some fibroblasts and blastocysts for you. Just don't expect much else from this sluggish story about the shady side of cloning. The premise is promising: Conservative U.S. Senator Ashley Butler has White House aims—and Parkinson's disease. So he enlists the hush-hush help of Dr. Daniel Lowell, a researcher who has discovered how to replace diseased DNA. In return for the risky treatment, Butler promises Lowell that he will sit on a bill that would ban such a procedure. By the way: The politico wants his new DNA to come from Jesus Christ's burial shroud.
Cook muddles the plot and kills all suspense by including an assortment of kooky characters better suited for a farce. The finale has a darkly rewarding Twilight Zoney twist, but after 450-plus uneven pages, you'll be in a state reminiscent of Cook's best work: Coma. (Putnam, $24.95)