Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Danger Lurks in the Fertility Clinic Another Robin Cook Thriller

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Danger Lurks in the Fertility Clinic Another Robin Cook Thriller

Article excerpt

Title: Shock

Author: Robin Cook

Data: G.P. Putnam Sons, 370 pages, $24.95

Review by Dan Scanlan

Two graduate students, both pursuing degrees in some heavy subjects at Harvard, decide on a way to make some extra money.

All they have to do to each earn 45,000 is to donate some ovum -- eggs from their reproductive systems -- to a fertility and pregnancy research institute in the hills of Massachusetts.

Cue the spooky music --the Wingate Institute is housed in a former sanitarium and tuberculosis clinic that looks like a Gothic prison, with its own crematorium in back. And what they don't know is that at least one woman who had serious complications while donating her eggs, plus her friend, disappeared off the face of the earth.

That is the world into which author and doctor Robin Cook places characters Deborah Cochrane and Joanna Meissner in Shock. An advertisement in the university newspaper promises the money they want to get a better apartment and take a year off in Venice to write their theses. And since Joanna just broke off her engagement to a childhood sweetheart, a local doctor, they are footloose and fancy-free.

But as soon as they go to the clinic to donate their eggs, they begin to feel creepy. The compound, set behind barbed wire fences with a security gate, looks like something out of a horror movie. They are worried about the procedure, then Joanna feels some sharp pains as they leave with their money.

But with money in hand, the women soon breeze their way to Italy, complete their theses, party, then return with to Boston. But instead of feeling happy, there is a gnawing desire to find out if their recovered eggs have spawned babies for parents who couldn't conceive any other way.

No surprise, they can't find out anything by telephone or by more insidious electronic means, so they come up with a hare-brained idea to work at the clinic. Wearing disguises and using assumed names, they get hired and soon find there is more bubbling beneath the surface of this Gothic clinic, like weird cloning experiments and stolen body parts. …

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