Robin Cook David Brudnoy - Essay

David Brudnoy

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Dr. Robin Cook in Coma] writes convincingly, compellingly, of a black market in human organs. Having concluded that he could turn out a best-seller by "dissecting" dozens of suspense and mystery novels, Cook has quite methodically packed his own novel with other authors' tricks, and sometimes the formulaic quality detracts from the book's quickening excitement. But by and large this is a horror story of the first order …, and it strikes to the core of many people's queasiness about the current debate as to when death occurs…. In his final "Author's Note," Dr. Cook makes plain his own antagonism to what he calls the legal-medical "mumbo-jumbo whose origins lie in the dark ages of English law" and his preference for the "noble use" of healthy organs. But Coma, a corker of a novel, will do little to advance that cause; it will rather—in addition to giving anyone who picks it up a splendid read—make a lot of jittery folks more than a little more apprehensive about the medical profession in general, and surgical procedures in particular.

David Brudnoy, "Books in Brief: 'Coma'," in National Review (© National Review, Inc., 1977; 150 East 35th St., New York, NY 10016), Vol. XXIX, No. 30, August 5, 1977, p. 899.