by Robin Cook, 2009, audiobook read by George Guidall, Recorded Books, Frederick, MD
This is possibly one of the worst books I have ever experienced. My wife and I listened to it on our trip from Florida to Rhode Island and we were both very happy when it ended.
First of all, the author went on a rant about alternative medicine in the early stages of the book. I am in agreement with a lot of what he said, but he just kept hammering it over and over again. It got to the point where I wanted to fast forward as it got to the point where it was extremely tedious.
In the second part of the book, the main character (a medical examiner) just dropped his crusade against alternative medicine and suddenly turned to another project, seemingly to take his mind off his situation at home, a baby with a lethal brain tumor. He then gets involved with a plot to extricate the Virgin Mary’s ossuary from under St. Peter’s tomb. The implication of this extrication is that, if it turns out that they validate that it does contain Mary’s bones, it will invalidate the doctrine of papal infallibility and the Catholic Church will be totally discredited. The author again pounds the religious argument over and over, making it just as tedious and pedantic as the alternative medicine tirade.
Because of the split between the focus on alternative medicine in the first part of the book and on the religious aspect in the second part, the author attempts to tie it all together with a supposed miracle in the last chapter. It’s a nice try, but it just doesn’t seem to cut it.
Compounding the issues above are some of the characters which are, quite frankly, repugnant. There are the archaeologist and his geneticist wife who argue with each other like five year olds. Their back and forth digs are ridiculous. The archbishop of New York, who is complicit in the plot, is so rigid in his views that I couldn’t empathize with him at all.
Finally, the end of the book didn’t seem to bring it together. The best thing about it was that it was over. The reader, George Guidall, did his usual good job. The reason I have rated this book at 1 1/2 stars versus only 1 star is because of the reader. He saved us from having to read it ourselves.