I’ve known for a while that I wanted to try out Robin Cook, who is a fairly popular medical thriller author. So I checked out a copy of his latest novel, Charlatans, and, while good, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for.

Charlatans is, mostly, the story of Noah Rothauser, a surgical resident at a renown hospital in Boston. His career is flourishing until he finds himself tangled up in office drama. After the death of a well-known and loved hospital security guard, Noah develops a relationship with Ava London, the anesthesiologist during the surgery. When two more deaths happen on her watch within as many weeks, Noah finds it harder and harder to dismiss the nagging questions he has regarding Ava’s performance.

Meanwhile, Noah experiences growing paranoia as it seems like everything in his life is falling to pieces. And in his quest to find answers, Noah realizes how easy it is for people to present who they want to be in person, while truly being someone completely different.

Despite the name, I guess I somewhat expected Charlatans to be a little more like what I expect Cook’s other books to be–where the thriller part is due to medicine, and not so much a hospital drama about secrets. In my mind, I guess I was expecting house, but got Grey’s Anatomy instead (though, to be fair, I’m not quite sure I’ve seen a full episode of either show). Charlatans wasn’t bad, in fact, I enjoyed the book, once I got past my expectations.

It was quick paced and easy to read. My one complaint was that Ava London’s character felt very stiff. I’m still trying to decide if I think that was on purpose, because of who she is, but, even if that’s the case, I’m not sure it really worked. I get that she’s supposed to be anti-social, but she came across more like someone who learned English from a finishing school mistress and speaks with no colloquial flavor. In short, not very realistic, to me.

So all in all, it was a good book. Definitely interesting, the main theme revolving around how technology is shaping the newer generations. But, I’m still really interested in getting my hands on one of Cook’s medical thrillers. Maybe after Christmas.

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