Monday, December 8, 2014


Robin Cook, again...

My last review was my first introduction to the doctor/writer. It was an old eighties novel: Outbreak. The back cover had the picture of the prolific man and his optimistic smile. Although Outbreak was not as good as I expected or wanted, it was not bad, either. I also happen to be one of those readers that if by chance discovers a 'new' author and their style or themes interest me, I will give it another go, or three, or four or...oh Dean Koontz. But I digress, point is, if I liked you a first time, I will read you a second. And so here I am again with the New York Times Bestselling Author. This time I picked a newer book: Nano


Hardback copy
 Intrigued by the promise of the burgeoning field of medical technology and the chance to clear her head, Pia takes a job at Nano, LLC, a lavishly funded, security-conscious nanotechnology insititute in the picturesque foothills of the Rockies. Nano, LLC is ahead of the curve in the competitive world of molecular manufacturing, including the construction of microbivores, tiny nano-robots with the ability to gobble up viruses and bacteria.

But the corporate campus is a place of secrets. She's warned by her boss not to investigate the other work being done at the gigantic facility, nor to ask questions about the source of the seemingly endless capital that funds the institute's research. And when Pia encounters a fellow employee on a corporate jogging path, suffering the effects of an apparent cardiac arrest and seizure, she soon realizes she may have stumbled on a possible Nano LLC human guinea pig. Is the tech giant on the cusp of one of the biggest medical discoveries of the twenty-first century—a treatment option for millions—or have they already sold out to the 
highest bidder?


I finished reading the book a week before I started this review. Why? I had mixed feelings and wanted to sit on it for a while, let it marinate. In the mean time I finished another book that was quite good, and solely because I want to get to that review, I finally decided to finish this one...or start it. Either way, here I am.

What initially intrigued me about Nano was the topic. Nanotechnology happens to interest me. Maybe because the field hasn't been explored enough--or maybe I just haven't read enough books on the subject. Intrigued as I was, I was even more drawn to this book because the author is a doctor. I figured Cook would explore the topic in depth and maybe even teach me something I didn't know. Wishful thinking, I guess.

I did enjoy some scenes and the science aspects. Yes, there were great scenes and mysteries early on that captivated me enough that I kept reading, but ultimately I was disappointed.

Let me start with the plot, Pia is a young woman employed by a corporation working on new treatments and technology in an unethically manner. Pia is like a dog with a bone and once she discovers something is off, she goes to incredible lengths to find out what exactly happened, which reminded me of the character in the last Robin Cook book I read who pretty much did the same thing. Except that Pia was ridiculously hard to like. Everyone loved her. Everyone wanted to be in her company. But she was a loner and not a social person. They explain the reasons for her detachment, and still I found it hard to believe everyone would want to be friends or even have in their life some girl who didn't like anyone. I was not a Pia fan. I did not root for her and more than once I wanted something terrible to happen to her, or better yet, have George--her friend--tell most of the story.

George, her doctor friend, disappeared after the first few chapters and didn't return until the end when Pia needed him and then another time in the middle where she needed him again. That was his whole character, coming in for the rescue. Pia used everyone in her life to get what she wanted. Her boss, her friend, her other friend who seemed to have been set up to be a love interest and later we discover that not to be the case, and the reason for this was not as much a surprise but an unnecessary twist. There was no plot requisite for us not to know sooner or for Paul to have had a great interest in her. Pia also put herself in dangerous situations in order to discover facts that were not crucial to her life. I had the same problem with Cook's last novel. I didn't really understand the MC's motive.

The other characters were not very rounded or interesting except Berman, the CEO. Essentially, the bad guy. He had a great motive for everything he did. His research would eventually lead to a the cure to Alzheimer or so he was aiming for that goal, which ran in his family. He had some rich, book, movie, man flaws. He wanted to conquer and dispose. Not the most original, but believable. He kept me intrigued.

Paul and George were one in the same. Two doctors. Two friends of Pia. Two men concerned with finding her when she put herself in one dangerous situation after another. They gave her sound advice. She didn't listen, and yet, they still blamed themselves when the ultimate bad happens--again. George recruits the help of her father who had never really been in her life only once before. In another book. This was not Pia's first book. She was kidnapped in the last book and her father tried to help her get out of that situation, too. Same plot here.

The ending was the most disappointing part of the story. We have a new setting. London. Great. We have new characters--last minute--but cool and so many opportunities for a kind of ending like the ones Cook is known for, rapid fire, a real thriller. But no. The ending had the main villain as nothing more than an incompetent fool. New villains took his place, and Pia became utterly useless as all the 'smarts' she had used thus far were thrown out the window when she again and again refused to cooperate after having no leverage. I was surprised she didn't die sooner or in the book that came before Nano. The ending was fuzzy. You are supposed to guess if our MC made it or not. I didn't care.

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