Book Talk: Robin Cook uses thrillers to explain medicine

Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:57am EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Robin Cook, credited as the inventor of the medical thriller, was a doctor who never set out to be a writer but he just wanted to find a way to explain medical issues to people in an entertaining, understandable way.

Cook, an American physician turned novelist, now has 30 books to his name which have sold nearly 100 million copies. Many of his books have been turned into TV movies, mini-series and feature length movies.

His latest novel, "Cure," released on August 10, is set in Japan and New York and deals with the problematic intersection of big business and medicine, the cut-throat world of medical patents, and stem cell technology.

Cook, 70, whose books include "Coma," "Brain," and "Mortal Fear," spoke to Reuters about writing:

Q: Why did you decide to start writing?

A: "I thought it would be a good way for people to learn about medicine and the problems of medical care and ethics and research. I realized medicine was picking up speed in terms of research but people were falling behind in their understanding of the issues. Everyone thought it was so difficult that they couldn't understand it but I thought it was important that people did understand medical issues."

Q: Was it hard to get people's interest?

A: "No, because there has always been a lot of interest in medical TV shows and medical movies but all the medical books prior to my writing were novels that suggested everything was fine. "Coma" really shocked everyone. It was about medicine and the doctors were the bad guys. "Coma" changed the landscape."   Continued...