Death Benefit by Robin Cook (audiobook)

Death Benefit - George Guidall, Robin Cook

Pia is a brilliant fourth year medical student working with a brilliant but difficult scientist on top secret, life changing research. Dr. Rothman gets along with no one but Pia and one other scientist. Pia, you see, may be beautiful on the outside but she is damaged emotionally. Her upbringing was difficult and filled with abuse and most of her fellow students dislike her. Except for sweet, handsome George, her boytoy (when she needs one) who hangs around hoping she’ll fall for him.

When mayhem erupts in the lab, Pia’s sterile world goes all to hell and she spends the rest of the novel bent on seeking out the truth even if it means putting herself and George in danger.

I really enjoyed this book in the beginning. Pia and Dr. Rothman’s relationship was interesting to me and I was fascinated by all of their interactions. They were two unlikely kindred souls and it was purely platonic. I loved that. Thus I was very sad to see the book take such a drastic turn and change into a tedious quasi-thriller loaded with interchangeable greedy bad guys instead of the quirky character focused medical thriller I was expecting. Yeah, there were some medical shenanigans taking place early on but in reality this wasn't at all what I’d classify as a “medical” thriller. And that’s a freaking shame. It’s about bad guys trying to take out a nosey girl determined to seek vengeance and expose them to ruin (oh noes!). And it’s not even thrilling because the author gives away his whole game early on.

I have a little advice, not that anyone (especially the famous author) gives two craps, but I’m giving it anyway because it will make me feel better for wasting 12 hours of my life last week. Beware there are minor spoilers below.

1. Don’t tell us everything early on, leaving only your heroine blowing in the wind. It kind of kills the suspense, you know?

2. Don’t kill off one of your most interesting characters. It kind of pisses me off as well as saddens me. And no, I am still not over it.

3. Don’t spend pages and pages telling me about freaking finances and health care/insurance scams. I can go to work to bore myself silly. At least there I get paid. I don’t need to read about that crap in my fun time.

4. If you’re going to write a revenge novel, next time go all the way to hell with it. Let your heroine shove a hot poker into at least one of the rapey bastard’s eyeballs or better yet let her shove it up one of their butts. They deserve it. Don’t let other characters handle the dirty work off screen. That’s lame.

5. Give the good, loyal puppy dog George a real happy ending or set him free, poor sucker. Don’t leave him (and me) in limbo like that. How long can a guy pine away hoping the girl of his dreams will change? George and Pia deserve better and so do I after investing so many hours. The romantic in me is PO’d. Just saying.

On the plus side, I thought the author did a great job of fleshing out Pia. She’s not the nicest of people, actually she’s a bit of a bitch and she’s using George but he knows it and sticks around anyway which I didn’t really get. I understood Pia and her distaste for whiny people “quit whining like a baby” and didn't mind spending time with her. The narrator, George Guidall, has a rather grandfathery voice that is calming and I enjoyed listening to him. His Rothman is superb and I could have listened to him voice Rothman all day long. He surprisingly does a great job with Pia, even though I probably would've preferred a female narrator. He only falls flat with George, who sometimes sounds too old for a college student, and many of the secondary hoodlums who all end up sounding too alike. But then again they were pretty interchangeable anyway, so who cares, right?

And there you have it. If you’re a medical thriller fan this may not thrill you. Or maybe it’s just me.