Reviews for Manner of death : a novel

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A pathology resident hunts for evidence linking a handful of suspicious suicides. Like many of Cook's novels, this one features Laurie Montgomery, chief medical examiner for the City of New York, and her medical examiner husband, Jack Stapleton, but the main protagonist this time around is Ryan Sullivan, an autopsy-averse resident doing a month-long rotation in the CME's office. He's curious about the commonalities among a handful of deaths that are believed to be suicides and sets out to prove they're somehow connected, risking his life in the process. In a parallel plot line, we meet Hank Roberts, a former Navy SEAL turned assassin who's been hired to make homicides look like suicides for a health-care company that's bilking corporations out of millions through phony diagnostic tests that indicate their employees have cancer when they don't. While the idea of health-care companies killing troublesome patients seems farfetched, Sullivan's meticulous investigation into the deaths is one of the novel's few highlights, as are scenes explaining how toxicology, scene investigation, and autopsy help MEs and their investigators determine the manner of death. Unfortunately, stilted dialogue stuffed with clichés is a distraction from Sullivan's intriguing detective work, as are details of the bureaucratic minutiae involved in running a medical examiner's office. Since Coma was published in 1977, Cook's status as a founder of the medical thriller genre has garnered him countless bestsellers. Despite the novel's weaknesses, diehard fans may be willing to wade through them in order to spend time—albeit limited—with Montgomery and Stapleton. Too few thrills in this thriller barely keep it on life support. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.