In Robin Cook’s new novel, Intervention, we meet up once more with New York City medical examiner, Jack Stapleton. Jack and his wife, Laurie recently had a baby boy. Their baby, JJ, has been diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer, neuroblastoma. Jack throws himself into his work to distract himself from the problems with JJ, and while researching alternative medicine discovers its dangers.
In the meantime, old college friends of Jack’s, Shawn Daughtry, a renowned archaeologist and scholar, and James O’Rourke, the Archbishop of New York City find themselves at loggerheads about an ancient document and ossuary that Shawn has found. Shawn believes it to contain the remains of the Virgin Mary, and James pleads with Jack to assist him in diverting Shawn from his study of the relics.
This is all much more interesting than my weak and undoubtedly lame synopsis made it sound. It’s really sort of a complex book to sum up easily. I enjoyed Intervention, for the most part. (Possible spoilers ahead…so skip to the last paragraph if you’re planning on reading the book!) Jack’s quest to uncover the dangers of alternative medicine was fascinating, and I may never go see a chiropractor again. She did help my lower back after a nasty fall down some stairs, but that neck popping part, that always felt so good…I don’t think I can ever let anyone do that again!! I was unhappy with the seeming ease with which Jack just let go of the quest. I understood the reasons, but it seemed like he was just a little too willing to write it off. That was complaint number one.
Complaint number two is admittedly silly, but it’s a writing device that many authors do and it just drives me nuts:
“He was happy to put it off until he finished the next autopsy, although had he any inkling about what he’d learn from the mother, he wouldn’t have put off the call for a second. Mrs. Abelard was going to tell him something he never would have guessed.”
I really don’t like this. The next chapter begins across the globe and with other characters, so the reader has to wait through a couple of more chapters to see what the heck Mrs. Abelard was going to tell him. I know, I’m not being fair, it’s a device to keep the reader going. But it bugs me. I’m going to keep going anyway. I don’t need to know that Mrs. Abelard is going to tell Jack something of great importance. I’ll figure that out when I read it. I don’t need a neon sign pointing the way, for cryin’ out loud.
Complaint number three is the conclusion of the book. It finished up nicely, wrapped up all the loose ends and was well written. So, what’s the problem? I don’t know! I liked it. It ended well. I guess I wish it had taken a little more time to get to it. It’s a very ephemeral feeling, there’s really nothing wrong with it that I can put my finger on, but it simply felt rushed to me.
So, I've complained and whined enough that you probably don't think I liked the book at all. And I did, it was a very interesting plot, good characters, the whole enchilada. And yep, I'd even recommend it, especially if you're a fan of Robin Cook and a follower of the Jack Stapleton series.