Author : Robin Cook
Synopsis: (From book cover)
When notorious underworld leader Carlo Franconi is gunned down, his Mafioso competitors become prime suspects. Suspicions are fuelled when Franconi’s body disappears from the city morgue before it can be autopsied- much to the embarrassment of the authorities, but to the amusement of forensic pathologist Jack Stapleton.
A few days later, the mutilated, unidentifiable body of a ‘floater’ arrives on the autopsy table and Jack himself becomes disturbed by the case. While unidentified bodies routinely make their way to medical examiner’s office, what arouses Jack’s curiosity is not so much that the body is missing its head, hands and feet – but also its liver.
Aided by his colleague Dr Laurie Montgomery, he identifies the corpse as the missing mobster. But who actually killed Carlo Franconi? And was the killer also responsible for the theft of the corpse and its grisly disfigurement?
Their search for the truth leads them to the steamy jungle of equatorial Africa, where they discover a sinister cabal whose activities include surgical procedures a step beyond the latest in current technology- and a leap beyond the accepted medical ethics.
“When I toured that island way back before all this started,” Kevin said, “I remember seeing some caves in that limestone cliff. What I’m thinking is that our creations are going into the caves, maybe even living in them. It’s the only way I can think of to explain why the grid would fail to pick them up.”
Melanie brought up a hand to cover her mouth. Her eyes reflected a flicker of horror and dismay.
Candace saw Melanie’s reaction. “Hey, come on, guys,” she pleaded. “What’s wrong? What are you thinking?”
Melanie lowered her hand. Her eyes were locked on Kevin’s. “What Kevin was referring to when he said he was terrified he’d overstepped the bounds,” she explained in a slow, deliberate voice,” was the fear that he’d created a human.”
This is one of Robin cook's best work in his genre. I picked up this book trying to explore more into the world of medical fiction and to those who feel this book would go over their head - Robin cook has explained all the terms in a language any layman could understand!
The story is of a academist Kevin who has stumbled upon a research involving Chromosome 6. With the help of this chromosome and biotechnology he is able to make a double of human by inserting the same gene in a bonobo-an ape family. Little does he know that Chromosome 6 also contains development genes!
The bonobos are created as double and can be used in future for organ transplant without any issues of incompatibility. The bio giant GenSys has set up a huge hospital and facilities for the research with the help of a small Africa country government which is in dire need of foreign currency- so much that it has made a capital punishment for anyone interfering with the Company.
The project incharge recruits doctors and there is chain of cuts to be given for each successful double. But the only issue that GenSys is worried about it -secrecy! An hint of this operation and they could get into serious animal right issues.
Kevin notices smoke in the jungles were bonobos are kept and he fears the worst- the bonobos are behaving like cavemen and using fire!!!!!!
Back in New York, Laurie and Jack, two medical examiners are worrying over the strange circumstances in which body of Carlos, a mobster, is found. Their trail leads them to African country where they discover the terrifying overstepping of ethics.
This story is amusing and the whole concept of bonobos turning like cavemen is fascinating. The plot is excellent and fast paced.
Rating: 4 /5
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