Robin Cook

11 September 2014
368 pages


Outbreak is Robin Cook at his hair-raising best. Blending a premise of consummate public concern with a galvanizingly suspenseful plot, he has perhaps created his signature work.

When the director of a Los Angeles health maintenance clinic succumbs, along with seven patients, to an untreatable – and virulently contagious –virus, Atlanta's Center for Disease Control goes on red alert. Unless the virus is isolated and checked, mankind may be facing its gravest medical crisis since the Black Death.

Assigned by the CDC to investigate the disease, Dr. Melissa Blumenthal is soon caught up in the ultimate nightmare. The California case is merely the first in a burgeoning series of outbreaks that occur in unrelated geographical areas but with puzzling commonalities: The locations are always health-care facilities, and the victims are only physicians and their patients.

As her investigation takes increasingly bizarre turns, Melissa finds that behind the natural threat lurks a far more sinister possibility: sabotage.

Before she discovers the truth, Melissa must overcome her superiors' fury, her colleagues' doubts – and the wrath of a powerful cabal, sworn to achieve its aims, no matter what the cost in human life – including Melissa's.

Brilliantly imagined, fiendishly compelling, Outbreak is superb Robin Cook – the kind of speculative chiller that will reverberate in the reader's awareness long after the final page is turned.

The master of the medical thriller.