In 1977, Boston ophthalmologist Dr. Robin Cook ’62 published a book that would spawn a new literary genre, change the public’s perception of medicine (and doctors), and a launch a literary career. That book was Coma—a medical thriller about patients who were intentionally placed in irreversible comas during surgery so that their organs could be harvested and sold for transplant on the black market.
Forty years later, Dr. Cook’s meticulously researched medical thrillers have sold a total of more than 100 million copies worldwide, been made into almost a dozen movies and television series—including Coma, the 1978 movie from doctor-turned-director Michael Crichton— and taught the reading public a thing or two about medical issues and ethics along the way, including stem cells and egg donation (Shock), xeno-transplantation (Chromosome 6), and the digitalization of medicine (Cell).
This month, Cook will publish his thirty-fifth book: Charlatans, the story of new chief resident Noah Rothauser on a race against time to identify and stop the person responsible for a rash of unexplained anesthesia-related patient deaths before any additional lives are lost. Filled to the brim with Cook’s unique blend of science and suspense, Charlatans once again illuminates the author’s unmatched ability to simultaneously entertain and educate.