Charlatans is the latest medical thriller by the well-known author Robin Cook.
The story starts with upcoming surgery of Bruce, staff working in the same hospital. Bruce is late for his hernia surgery because he feels it’s his duty to keep working until the last minute.
When he gets on the operation table, as predictable, things go wrong and Bruce dies and blame is freely spread around the hospital employees.
But when a few other patients die in the course of very easy surgeries, Dr. Noah Rothauser, chief medical resident knows that something is very wrong at Boston Memorial Hospital.
From the beginning, it is clear that Dr. William Mason, a popular, respected and feared surgeon, has it in for both Noah and Dr. Ava London, the hospital’s main anesthesiologist. Every meeting dedicated to discussing the problems that arose during various surgeries were full of threats and blame and everyone would try to find a scapegoat for the deaths on the operating table.
Noah and Ava become close to each other and they decide to work together to keep the blame away from themselves, particularly when they both know that they are equally innocent. Or are they?
There are things in Noah’s past that makes you wonder how he got to the respected position he is in now, but Ava tops the cake when it comes to strange. Noah feels that something is wrong both with her past and with her character, so he begins investigating.
The book is medical thriller mixed with social study and current medical topic. You can always tell that Robin Cook is also a medical doctor because his writing is full of genuine details that only a doc would be so familiar with.
Noah is quite an interesting character which I ended up liking quite a lot. He is a serious worker who puts his job ahead of even his personal life. He literally throws himself at work. He also believes in his instinct before anything else. Dr. Ava is also well-fleshed out, but she pales a bit in comparison with Noah. And dr. Mason, that guy grated on my nerves from the very beginning.
Robin Cook knows how to make you believe that the obvious character is the guilty one and he never gives several details that make it really believable. So, I was highly surprised when I got to the end of the book. It finally dawned on me what the title was referring to.
After the last few books where I felt that Robin Cook started to let his readers down, Charlatans went back to the basics of what made us all fall in love his writing and with medical thrillers in the first place. Robin Cook is back in top form, and Charlatans is a winner once again.