Book info

Contagion (1996)

Contagion (1996)
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Rating
3.88 of 5 Votes: 1
ISBN
0425155943 (ISBN13: 9780425155943)
languge
English
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publisher
berkley
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Contagion (1996)
Contagion (1996)

About book: Book AnalysisDr. Robin Cook, a graduate of Columbia University Medical School, finished his postgraduate medical training in Harvard. He is the author of the novel, Contagion.The novel is really wonderful, very detailed and at the same time informative. I am really a fan of Dr. Robin Cook because of his intelligence in connecting biological concepts that are really spine tingling and would unconsciously make you think of possibilities of his medical-thrilling novel’s conflict. The work of a forensic pathologist is not common for ordinary people and we find those who are engage to it as weird since they are able to interact with corpses. But in this novel, Dr. Robin Cook changed our perception about medical examiners. He showed us how exciting their work is and how important is their work in helping especially in preventing an epidemic possibility. They might just be dealing with the dead bodies but they are also concern in preventing bodies to die. I was personally affected with this novel to get a decree in pathology and do what Jack Stapelton and Laurie Montgomery are concerned of especially in doing autopsies. One of the responsibilities that a medical examiner could do for the sake of the family members left by the dead is for them to come up with the most appropriate reason and explanation of how the dead body died. We are also shocked about how Dr. Cook identified the suspects of spreading the disease in the character of Jack Stapelton and how they spread these using just a simple humidifier. I never thought of Terese Hagens and Richard Overstreet as the antagonists. The story is very unpredictable. Dr. Cook turned the peaceful practice of medicine to something exciting. I would really like to recommend this fast read novel that would holds you page after page because it calls for our leaders and even our attention to reject market values as a framework for the health care and the market-driven mess into which our health system is evolving. The story of contagion revolves around the first exciting experience of Jack Stapelton after getting his degree in forensic pathology.Jack Stapelton is a medical examiner of the office of Medical Examiners of New York City for five months. Laurie Montgomery is the one in charge in assigning the cases to the medical examiners. That day, an infectious disease case was assigned to Jack Stapelton. As Stapelton did the autopsy of Nodelman, he thought of the cause of death as plague. It was too unbelievable to have a case of plague especially in March at New York City in a hospitalized patient. After the Micro Lab examined the gram stain that Jack sent them, it was confirmed that Nodelman is positive of plague. Jack Stapelton had done a lucky diagnosis. And because of the absence of his bosses Dr. Harold Bingham and Dr. Calvin, jack decided to call the Commissioner of Health and informed them about the possible epidemic that the plague could cause. Jack wasn’t contented with the call that he made. He even made a visit to the Manhattan General Hospital where Nodelman was confined. Jack got to know Dr. Carl Wainright, Martin Cheveau and Richard Overstreet who have all been so overwhelming and appreciative of his diagnosis that day. Mr. Kelley, the President and Dr. Abelard the City Epidemiologist felt opposite about jack’s sudden appearance. Jack was almost fired when his chief got to know about his violation of the “no site visit policy”. After being almost fired up, Chet Mcgovern invited jack for a dinner that night. There they met Terese Hagens and Colleen Anderson who are both engaged to the advertising industry. The group made conversations about their works and interests Terese thought of listening to jack’s opinions about the ad so that she can use that for her campaign for the National Health Company.For the next couple of days, Jack made another diagnosis of three rare arthropod-borne diseases; tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Primary Influenza Pneumonia. All of these diseases came from Manhattan General. As jack got to confirm his diagnosis with the help of the lab, he also made site visits to Manhattan General that caused irritation to Mr. Kelley and Martin Cheveau. As a result, Dr. Bingham made another warning for him. Jack was so desperate that he even risks his work because he thinks that something is wrong, something is missing and someone could possibly just deliberating these diseases.After almost telling his thought of somebody is just causing these diseases put Jack in danger. An unknown person paid a gang named “Black Kings” to knock him off and warned him to do his job and let others do theirs. One weird fact about the cases that they handle is that, in every infectious disease, there is always a case of death from the Central Supply of the Manhattan General which is so impossible since there is no chance for the staffs to have contact and acquire the disease form the person who died from it. Jack’s further personal investigation wasn’t delayed because of the threat that he received. He then learned that anyone even without a permit who has a capability to pay can order any microbe from the National Biologicals in Virginia. Jack tried it himself and asked the agent for some confidential questions like who ordered plague and tularemia recently. Jack was told that plague was recently ordered last March 15 by Martin Cheveau and tularemia was ordered by a company named Frazer Labs. The two attempts of his life were followed when Jack and Terese were on a restaurant for a dinner. Thanks to a sergeant who were asked by Lou Soldano, a friend of Laurie Montgomery to watch after jack and eventually saved Jack’s life from being shot.The other day, jack decided to take a visit to the Frazer Lab. He made a fake package and even wore a delivery man’s suit. After a long wait, a man in Ski Sparta came into the jewelry shop where Jack dropped down the package. Through Jack’s instincts, he decided to follow the man to his building. He used the fire exit stairs and trespass the man’s apartment. There he found laboratory apparatuses and was sure that he was already in the Frazer Labs. The man in Ski Sparta caught him in the comfort room where he is hiding.The man who orders tularemia, the operator of the Frazer Labs and the Head Tech of the Manhattan General Hospital is right in front of him! The man is Richard Overstreet who was deliberately spreading the diseases. What shocked that most was when he caught sight of the other person engaged with the immoral killing, the person is Terese Hagens. Jack learned that Terese Hagens badly wants to have the president’s position of the advertising firm where she works. That is the reason that she needs to come up with a great Television ad. Richard Overstreet is her brother that helped Terese through putting his microbes to people’s humidifiers so that the Manhattan General would have a headache about the nosocomial infection and media will be informed thus people would hesitate to go there but rather to National Health Company.The next thing Jack was aware of is that the siblings want him be gone because he surely will spill the real thing and the siblings will surely end up in jail. They brought Jack to Catskills and since Jack’s symptoms of the Primary Pneumonia Influenza were observed when the three are on the car in their way to Catskills. The two eventually died after acquiring the disease from Jack. Primary Pneumonia Influenza is the disease that killed twenty-five million people around the globe last 1918 and 1919. Jack acquired the disease from Hernandez who died because of it. The sudden appearance of the disease is just because of the gram stain that Richard got after a friend of him saw a natural tomb in Atlantic. Richard of course didn’t waste the chance and get a sample of it. The disease can kill a person as fast as below twenty-four hours. Jack wasn’t that affected by the disease even if he had the symptoms because of the Rimantadine that he is inducing to his body. The cause of the appearance of these infectious diseases was solved and the damage was controlled by the vaccine that the Commission of Health is giving to the public.

Have you read any of Robin Cook’s books yet? No? NO??!! Dude!! You have no idea what you’re missing out on! We’re talking epidemic, deadly viruses, panic, conspiracies, drama, confusion, medical negligence, and gangsters! And of course, as with any good medical drama worth its salt, at the center of it all are two competing corporate healthcare giants out to make a quick profit AND an ad company with a near-impossible deadline. If this sounds to you like a heady mix of suspense, intrigue, and holy-crap-hope-this-never-happens-to-us chills, then right you are. Seriously, you have to read this. Contagion is also my first Robin Cook experience, so I won’t judge you for not having read any of his novels yet. Right, so I mentioned the panic and conspiracy theories, a plague, and other killer diseases. But there are a ton more elements that made this both an exciting and disturbing read. The scariest thing for me was that this could really happen. It might seem unlikely that a break-out with such devastating consequences as described in this story could occur in a real-life large, bustling, modern hospital, but I personally believe it’s possible. Even if you don’t believe such a likelihood exists, Contagion will definitely convince you otherwise. Here we have a spectacular cast of characters to keep track of. Most characters have minor roles, and some more important, but each character is crucial in moving the plot along. It is clear that a good amount of time was spent on developing every character no matter how big or small their part in this story. From start to end, there is absolutely no indication of who the guilty party might be. Yet, when the big reveal is done, you’ll probably ask yourself why you hadn’t suspected that person(s) from the start. I love when an author is detail-oriented, but doesn’t weigh the reader down with too much unnecessary information about the setting and characters’ histories. Robin Cook balances all this perfectly and sticks to the storyline without too much explanation (though a lot of the medical- and biological terminology went right over my head). You know what I liked most about Jack’s character? His go-getter attitude. He asks questions, gather as much information as he can, and then immediately goes out looking for the answers. He doesn’t even care how many toes he steps on along the way. Plus, he does all this while adding his own patented brand of tongue-in-cheek humor, intentionally provoking the tempers of his superiors, the staff at Manhattan General Hospital where the first plague outbreak occurred, and the corporate heads at healthcare giant, AmeriCare. Jack is fearless, yet vulnerable, and I soon realized I’m rapidly developing a soft spot for this character.One of Jack’s best lines in my opinion (with which I share the same sentiment): “The problem is that I’ve developed an aversion to mediocrity.”The only issues I had was that the ending felt a little blunt, and the motivation behind the spread of the deadly diseases wasn’t as impressive as the continued build-up throughout the story led me to believe it would be. Although, I did like how it ended for the antagonist(s), so I’m giving Contagion an easy five stars. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this book. Want to know what lengths some people will go to to get what they want? Yes? Then this book was written for you. If not, read it anyway because it’s kick-ass!
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Reviews
Yani Daniele
Contagio es una novela d misterio, suspenso y algo policial ambientada desde el lado de la medicina. Extrañas enfermedades están surgiendo en los pacientes de un importante hospital de New York y el médico forense comienza a investigar la muerte de esos pacientes y lo que ocurre en ese sospechoso hospital. A partir de ahí se ve envuelto en una trama que escapa a la imaginación de cualquiera. La novela te atrapa poco a poco, haciéndose adictiva y cada vez quieres leer más y más y descubrir si las hipótesis del protagonista son ciertas o si esta divagando y si de ser ciertas... quienes son los culpables. Hacía el final la historia da un vuelco sorprendente e impensable. Lo que no me gustó tanto, es como que al final le faltó demostrar que pasaba con algunas situaciones que se dieron durante la historia y que quedaron inconclusas o poco esclarecidas. Ya que al final, llegamos a un epílogo pero no se rebela todo lo que paso desde el capítulo anterior, lo cual me parece una lastima porque me hubiera gustado saber que paso en ese intervalo. A pesar de eso, la novela es 100% recomendable.
Kate
Wow. Just...wow.And not in a good way.Robin Cook obviously knows his pathology and medicine, but he is an awful writer - at least in this book. I know I've read other books by him before; I remember enjoying Acceptable Risk some years ago, but now I'm wondering whether that was because I was 14 and it was literally the only book I had access to in English. I may have to re-read it to find out, because the prose in Contagion is ABYSMAL.No, really. I mean, the plot is predictable and the character
Terri Lynn
Well, I didn't see THAT coming! Robin Cook did a great job with this book. For once I didn't have a clue about a certain person being involved with the deaths until the very latter part of the book.The prologue begins by introducing us to three people and three incidences which the author says "Three incidences occurred that were totally unrelated yet were to cause a tragic intersection of the lives of three of the people involved."Those three people were:(1) A virus and bacteria lover (yes, he is a strange one) named Dick (Richard) who was slipped in by a college friend in Alaska to find what the oil company had dug up and did NOT want the public to know (lest the government stop them from digging) which was a buried igloo from 1918 with three dead bodies in it that died of the deadly 1918 worldwide flu epidemic and are frozen. (2) A woman who suffered from an ectopic pregnancy who wound up having an emergency hysterectomy to save her when they went to remove the pregnancy before her Fallopian tube could burst. Her name is Terese Hagen. Her husband, who married her only because she was pregnant, dumps her. (3) Jack Stapleton himself. Jack was happy with his wife and two daughters when the medical conglomerate AmeriCare robbed him of his ophthalmologist practice in Champlain, Illinois. He had a hard decision to make and he decided to retrain as a pathologist which would mean 5 years in Chicago doing a new residency. His wife Marilyn had a tenured job in the English Department at the University of Illinois and instead of doing weekend commutes or getting a similar job in Chicago, Marilyn sides with the two whiny girls saying they'd have to go to an inner city public school instead of private school (ever hear of homeschooling-Marilyn with the PhD?) and refuses. She and the girls get on the commuter flight back to Champlain and die when it crashes. Wish now you'd stayed, huh? One of the things that appealed to me most about this book is watching Jack struggle with the issues of loss. When we see him again, the 5 years have passed, he is a pathologist with the Medical Examiner's office in New York City and he seems to just not care what happens to him. He lives in a horrible neighborhood (can't have a tv even as it would be a temptation to thieves), plays basketball with the local gangsta guys, and rides his bike everywhere in heavy traffic and through Central Park late at night. He has battled depression and seems to feel he deserves to be punished or harmed. While he has no girlfriend nor social life, he gets along okay with some of his co-workers. Dr. Laurie Montgomery is one he likes and respects. The trouble is that he is full of one-liners, veiled insults and quips and words that hide what he thinks and feels. He is like a robot that has no feelings yet we know he is in serious pain and some self-loathing. He is excellent at his job but will go out and do the very thing his bosses forbid him to do knowing he could lose his job. It's like he has no concern for what happens to him. He blames himself for the loss of his wife and children. He also has it in for Ameri-Care for ruining his former practice. If they had not done so, he would not have been in Chicago with his family and they would not have boarded the plane where they lost their lives. He is ready for revenge and a vendetta.It soon comes in the form of some very unusual and rare bacteria/viruses infecting and killing patients at one of the Ameri-Care hospitals- Manhattan General Hospital. Jack does the autopsies and amazes the pathologists by correctly diagnosing several deadly and rare versions of viruses and other diseases and soon realizes these had to be deliberately introduced (especially that 1918 influenza which is unknown to even exist at all) yet when he tries to get info at the hospital, they become hostile and make complaints to the city for him even asking questions. Their concern is that their reputation not be harmed as it will cost them patients and therefore money.Jack finds himself in some very peculiar situations including being invited to dinners by two lovely women- Dr. Montgomery and also Terese Hagen who is now a serious workaholic trying to position herself for the presidency of a major ad agency on Madison Avenue. How far will she go to get that job? The sky's the limit. They met through mutual friends and Terese tries to enlist him to help her with an ad campaign to discredit Ameri-Cares hospital Manhattan General.. Bizarre things happen including someone at Manhattan General hiring some gang members (from a rival gang, not Jack's ball playing buddies) to first rough up then try to kill Jack. Jack is saved several times when his ball playing buddy Warren (head of his local gang) sends protection his way and also when Laurie's ex-boyfriend police detective Lou Soldano happens to have him tailed and watched when he promises Laurie to try to find out Jack's secret and an officer has to kill a gang member of the rival gang. The bodies start piling up of both gang members and innocent people who get the terrible viruses that keep coming or who try to help Jack get info (they get bumped off).The question is- who is behind all of this? Why would someone be willing to kill the innocent and how are they getting hold of multiple rare viruses? Who can Jack trust (if anyone)? Jack does some very good detective work using those who are pros in their fields instead of as in many of Robin Cook's books trying to do it all himself as an expert in all fields. The various storylines are very interesting and the ending is not something you will anticipate.
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