Born in Brooklyn in 1940, raised in Jersey from the age of eight, Robin Cook earned a medical degree, then went on to write a slew of thrillers, many reaching best-seller status. He wrote his first while serving in the navy on a submarine. Although that one failed to attract great interest, he soon found the formula to success. I just finished Mutation published in 1989 and set in the first quarter of that year. It begins with a quote from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: “How dare you sport thus with life?” It’s the story a highly successful researcher, now administrative head of the multi-million dollar company he co-founded. His wife, a psychiatrist who suffered a difficult first pregnancy, wants another child. The couple decides on in vitro fertilization through a surrogate. Unbeknownst to her, her husband has monkeyed with the DNA. Ten years later the child, mentally, is more like a mature man, IQ off the charts. There have been several deaths by a rare form of liver cancer, the victims linked. Is it coincidence or something nefarious? The story line is absorbing, despite the fact that it goes directly to where it points, the twist being there is none. The prose and dialogue are solid, although the former could have used a little tightening, even though it’s only 244 pages. Then again, that is true of almost all books, including my own. There is also more professional jargon than I prefer. Is it a cautionary tale? No, not against “ordinary” in vitro, which time seems to have proven safe and a godsend to many. Is there a moral? Here’s mother speaking to genius son: “…Science runs amok when it shakes loose from the bonds of morality and consequence.” 269 users at Amazon have rated Mutation, forging to a consensus of 4.3 on a scale of five. I’ll go with three. Cook has written more than 30 novels, several of which have been adapted to the big or small screen. I’ve seen Coma (1978), screenplay and direction by wildly successful author Michael Crichton, starring Geneviève Bujold, more than once. It’s great fun. I smile whenever I conjure the image of the star making an escape atop an ambulance, clutching the flashing light. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a picture of it, so I hope my mind isn’t playing a trick on me. Here is Cook:
Headline from nypost.com: “Leftists’ anti-cop policies led to startling number of black, Latino crime victims.” Do they consider it acceptable collateral damage?
Damn, filling tanks must be really expensive in Tennessee. Headline from NYP: “Woman who ran out of gas on bridge had 229 pounds of weed in SUV.” Or maybe she was too stoned to realize she was running on empty.
Opening line from an NYP editorial: “Twitter faces the ‘nightmare’ of being forced into free speech, snarks Jonathan Turley at The Hill.” Bravo.
Texas governor Abbott is sending his eighth bus of migrants to The Swamp. Kudos, but send some to Quid Pro Joe’s Delaware too.
It was sunny, less windy and warmer today, so the floating book shop was a lot more fun. My thanks to the young man who bought The Constitution of Development: Crafting Capabilities for Self-Governance by S. Shivakumar and Who Is Buddha? by Sangharakshita; and to the woman who overcompensated me for four hardcovers in Russian; and to Ira, who purchased An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aquarium Fish by Gina Sandford and another pictorial; and to the woman who took home Journeys, a kids’ book.
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