Marker is a concise story, which focuses upon the relationship (physical and emotional) between two medical examiners, Julie and Jack.
Jack and Julie have been dating and working together for nearly a decade and their relationship has not yet developed into an offer of marraige from Jack and an acceptance of Julie's desire to have a family. Both Jack and Julie are main characters who handle autopsies of a variety of natures.
Julie picks up on a significant number of deaths which cannot be explained through autopsy, pathology and/or chemical analysis. She is deeply troubled by the expanding number of unexplainable deaths and becomes obsessed with uncovering the reason for the deaths. Initially the deaths appear to be coming from one main hospitial, but through research, Julie discovers there have been a number of additional unexplainable deaths of young, healthy, post operative patients from a variety of other hospitals.
The individual responsible for all of the unexplained deaths is identified early in the story as a frustrated psychopath who has moved from an unsuccessful military career to nursing. "Jaz" is obsessesed with physical fitness and is extremely dedicated to maintaining her edge of physical strength. "Jaz" is paranoid to the extant and has been contacted by two mysterious and unknown individuals to do "contract" terminations of select patients in the hospital where she is employed. She is highly successful with her terminations and is building her savings to advance her lifestyle.
The novel is clear, easy to read, concise, well explained with numerous references to medical situations. The story culmulnates in a near death experience for Julie as she gets close to identifying the killer and uncovering the main motive for the terminations.
The over all story is believable yet not up to the standards of a Robin Cook best seller. Having read every book this author has written, this work falls short of the standards Robin Cook has set in the past.
This report prepared by Bruce L. Spars
Putnam, May 2005, 25.95, 544 pp.
Dr. Laurie Montgomery and Dr. Jack Stapleton both work for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and off duty they are lovers living together although each has kept their own apartment. She wants marriage and children while Jack who lost his family is afraid of a commitment. One morning Laurie wakes up and realizes that at forty three she has very few child bearing years left and breaks it off with Jack.
She throws herself into her work and she finds the case of a twenty-eight year old man very puzzling. He had a foot injury and died but there is no evidence what caused his death. When a woman who has had knee surgery dies for no apparent reason, Laurie begins to think that the two cases are related. When two more exact cases come in, Laurie begins to believe there is a serial killer operating in Manhattan General. As more cases pile up, the only thing the victims have in common is they were young, healthy and new subscribers to AmeriCare Health Insurance. Laurie investigates off the radar because the powers that be don't want to believe her and order her to keep her findings in house.
Robin Cook has written another exciting trademark medical thriller that includes his opinion on the state of medical care in this country, the nursing shortage and the faults of the health care system.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner