Cover Image: Manner of Death

Manner of Death

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Member Reviews

My first time reading this author, it’s number fourteen in the series. I’m new to medical thrillers too so don’t have much to compare it to.

Jack and Laurie are drawn into investigating a series of homicides staged as suicides.

It’s detailed, there’s a lot of forensics and autopsy detail. It felt slow to me, but perhaps that’s this sub-genre, or perhaps the tried and trusted formula of a long established best selling author.

It was entertaining enough while also convincing me that this kind of medical thriller isn’t really for me.

Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Group Putnam

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I truly enjoyed this book, and rate it a 3.5 out of 5 stars. It’s certainly a book that grabbed my attention from the beginning. It is a book in a series, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment that I haven’t read the ones before this one.
It follows a couple who are both medical examiners in NYC, and you can imagine the interesting, and even life threatening cases they become involved with.
I’m glad I read this book on kindle, as it was easier to look up some of the medical jargon. Overall, it was an above average book, and I recommend it for a thrilling adventure.

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Robin cook has been one of my favorite authors since coma!!! I love how timely he is in terms of our day to day medical climate and how he keeps things simple enough that a layperson can u destined. Always will be one of my faves!

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This is another book with Jack and Laurie. Medical field. A death that doesn't line up.
Robin Cook's books are always good.
Thanks to publisher G.P. Putnam's Sons and to NetGalley for the ARC.

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This is the 14th book that covers medical examiners, Dr Laurie Montgomery and her husband Dr Jack Stapleton. This story has plenty of suspense, but is almost a little formulaic. It is well written as is everything Dr Cook writes. I give it 4 stars.

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3.5 stars. This was better than the last few books that Robin Cook has published and I was so relieved for that. While still not completely up to the standards of his earlier books, this book was still entertaining, though I struggled with a slump in the middle of the book. While this is a Jack and Laurie book, it focuses much more on Laurie this time. Jack and the family do appear but not often, with Jack appearing much more than the kids who are just mentioned. The book focuses more on Ryan, a new character, than anyone else. Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good thriller or mystery.

I would like to thank the author, publisher, and Netgalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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I honestly don't know what's happened with this author. Robin Cook used to be one of my favorite authors, but his recent works have not seemed up to par. The writing is clunky and over explanatory. The last novel I read of his was a DNF and I really had to force myself to finish this one. It makes me very sad, but I think I'm going to give up on this author.

Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for allowing me to read this ARC.

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Once again we visit NYC Chief Medical Examiner Laurie Montgomery and her husband Jack Stapleton. When an underperforming senior pathology resident finds a way to get out of observing autopsies with research into several suspicious suicides, Laurie, herself, is unknowingly drawn into a major conspiracy. A conspiracy that soon puts her very life in danger. Are these deaths really suicide or is there something darker at play and will everyone come out unscathed? Cook writes a slower burn with this one, but the plot is definitely intriguing, keeper the reader engrossed from start to finish. Thank you to Penguin and NetGalley for an ARC of this book.

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I've been a fan of Robin Cook for many years, so I was looking forward to reading the latest release. This is another book featuring medical examiners Laurie Montgomery and her husband Jack Stapleton. The action and suspense keep the reader engaged, and there's a great twist at the end. This book reminded me of why Cook is one of my go-to authors, as well as one of the top authors when it comes to medical thrillers. I look forward to future books. While this book is part of a series, it can easily be read as a standalone novel.

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Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on December 5, 2023

Many of the Robin Cook novels I’ve read have hinged on plots of doubtful plausibility. Manner of Death is the least plausible among them.

The novel is one of many featuring medical examiner Jack Stapleton and his wife, Laurie Montgomery, who is New York City’s chief medical examiner. Much of the story (and the most interesting part) involves a young resident named Ryan Sullivan who is doing a rotation in the morgue, observing and assisting with autopsies. Sullivan doesn’t like the smell and would rather be performing work for which he feels more suited.

Sullivan shies away from one of the autopsies because it involves a suicide. Sullivan’s father committed suicide and Sullivan tried to kill himself when he was young. He was adopted by a doctor who is now a big shot, which explains his rise from unfortunate circumstances to a medical residency.

Although he doesn’t like autopsies, Sullivan becomes intrigued by the forensic evidence that drives decisions to classify deaths as suicides or murders staged as suicides. Montgomery makes him aware of several recent cases in which medical legal investigators alerted the medical examiners to red flags that might be indicative of homicide. All of the cases were eventually ruled to be suicides, in part because the police pressure the investigators to classify the death as a suicide because homicides are a lot of extra work.

Sullivan persuades Montgomery to excuse him from autopsies for a bit while he searches for commonalities in the cases. Sullivan interviews various investigators and witnesses to search for a common thread. He finds several. All of the victims were executives in large corporations, were reasonably young, and had recently had medical examinations that were paid for by their employers.

Without revealing any surprises, I think I can safely reveal that two related medical centers are scamming patients. One center makes a doubtful diagnosis and then sends the patient to the other center for unnecessary but expensive full body scans. The owner of the centers is losing money and doesn’t want to give refunds to disgruntled patients.

As is common to Stapleton novels, one of the central characters is imperiled as the novel nears its conclusion. That gives the novel its obligatory action, but it also means that the books in the series are acquiring a predicable sameness.

My complaint about the plot centers on the motive for the staged suicides. Hiring mercenaries from a security firm to commit murders seems like it would be more expensive (and much riskier) than simply settling claims of patients who decide they have been defrauded. And since the patients' employers are paying the bill, I doubt they would actually kick up much of a fuss.

A complaint that is common to all of Cook’s novels concerns the dialog. It’s awful. Maybe medical examiners in the real world speak to each other as if they were automatons (although AI speaks as naturally as humans these days). Attempts to make the characters sound human come across as artificial. And all characters, including non-doctors, speak in the same tedious voice. A doctor might say “irrespective of its efficacy” but would a cop?

Sullivan’s quest is reasonably interesting. He is a tedious young man but he’s still the novel’s saving grace. Given the leaden dialog and doubtful plot, I can’t give a full recommendation to Manner of Death, but hardcore fans of medical thrillers and of the forensic analysis surrounding death might enjoy it more than I did.


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Manner of Death by Robin Cook brings back medical examiners Laurie and Jack. As they move through their busy days they work on solving crimes disguised as suicides.

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Always a huge fan of Robin Cook! Working in the medical field his books always excite me and sometimes even teach me new things about the field since he explains things in such a way that you dont need to know the medical jargon to understand the story! I love that he's been writing medical thrillers for as long ad he has, and once again, Manner of Death fits right in with the rest!

I wouldnt say this was my favorite by him, but it was still a fun and quick read with a great twist. It does need a trigger warning eigh the content however. Most of Robin Cook's books seem way before their time with the use of technologies that were not even developed or seemed impossible in the time period the book was written. Manner of Death does lack alot of that, although it does involve the use of a new and advanced test for cancer diagnosis which was interesting, although I wish there had been more detail on it.

Overall I really did enjoy the book and felt like I was able to relate to the characters, the development of them was excellent as always with his books! I will always recommend his books especially to anyone interested in the medical field amd I love that this one also discussed the forensic part of it, as it is one of my favorites!

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Medical thrillers top the interest list for me, even ahead of the legal thrillers that are perhaps more common. So to be sure, this author's work is not unfamiliar to me. In fact, I've read one other in this series, but I was nonetheless surprised to learn that this is the 14th. It stands alone well, but of course I always advise starting any series at the beginning when possible. The featured characters are Laurie Montgomery and Jack Stapleton, married physicians at the New York Medical Examiner's Office (Laurie, in fact, is the chief ME), though her first love is doing the actual hands-on tasks rather than administrative chores.

Pathology residents routinely pass through the office, required to spend a month or so observing, and helping to perform, autopsies on the many bodies that pass through each day. One of the new residents, Ryan Sullivan, presents a bit of a dilemma; he absolutely loathes even being in the autopsy room - it upsets him so much that he'll try just about anything to get out of being there. In the process of trying to skirt the issue, he learns of a couple of instances in which the declarations of suicide - made both by the medical legal investigators, who make the initial prognoses, and the MEs was questionable, even though all were based on solid evidence. As it turns out, a previous resident also started to follow up on those cases but was murdered before she shared any conclusions from her investigations.

Ryan, though, is so hot to trot out of the autopsy room that he manages to get approval from his direct supervisor to take a few days for research - and no surprise, he finds another handful of cases in which the suicide/homicide decision could have gone either way with both the MLIs and MEs having niggling doubts but, for lack of conclusive evidence, went with suicide. Were any of those cases "staged" by a killer who was successful in covering up a murder? If so, how was it done? Why and by whom?

Those are questions that Ryan must deal with as his own investigation picks up steam; readers follow along while learning early on the answers to at least two of those questions. Sandwiched in between is quite a bit of "filler" into the private lives of the main characters (even if it was interesting, which it was, it was a little too much for my liking). Interesting to me was the frequent praise for the role of the medical legal investigators - a profession I must admit I'd never even heard of before. The ending brought a little surprise, but one I think will please most followers of the series. That includes me, and I'm already looking forward to the next installment. Meanwhile, I thank the publisher, via NetGalley, for allowing me to read and review a pre-release copy.

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Robin Cook is one of my favorite authors. I've been enjoying his books for forty years. His thrillers are so mesmerizing and always leave me wondering what if this could really happen. The thought always leaves me with chills. Keep on writing Robin - I am a big fan!

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This is absolutely the last Robin Cook book I will read - at least the last one in the Jack Stapleton / Laurie Montgomery series. These characters are awful, and there's nothing thrilling about the storyline. You know the premise right from the start, so the book is simply a slow and painful description of how two ridiculously unbelievable characters manage to ignore all common sense and reality to solve the "mystery" while managing to put themselves into, and then miraculously squeak right out of, mortal danger. No thanks, not for me. I'd rather read the phone book. I desperately miss books like Toxin, Coma and Outbreak. I will gladly be an outlier; it floors me how highly rated this book is.

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Robin Cook hits it out of the park again with the latest installment in the Jack Stapleton & Laurie Montgomery series! I love their relationship - how real and loving it is. This book kept you in suspense right up to the end! With Jack saving the day, again! I can't wait for the next book!


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So exciting to be meeting up again with Jack and Laurie. They are two of my favorite characters.

Without giving away any spoilers… the main focus of this novel is investigating a manner of death on several victims believed to be suicides.

Meet Ryan Sullivan , a pathology resident whom is not enthusiastic about performing autopsies. Long story short…he has found that the manner of death was not suicide. It was revealed by Ryan that a cancer diagnostic company had a hand in the victims demise.

Once again, Dr. Cook has hit it out of the park. Not only are his novels entertaining but educational as well.

I’ve been a fan since he penned “Coma” and will be his #1 fan as long as possible.

Did I mention there was a twist at the end? Guess you’ll just need to read it to find out!!!

Thank you, Dr. Cook and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review another wonderful novel.

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I'm a big fan of medical mysteries and I think I've read just about everything Robin Cook has published. I like the Jack and Laurie team and I thought that this latest book was particularly clever and engaging. As I read, I could practically see the matrix forming in my head and how the pieces would all fit together. Fittingly, there were surprises I didn't anticipate. I will look forward to the next book.

Thank you to NetGalley for an advance copy of this book. I think Cook is at the top of his game with this one!

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Robin Cook always delivers on the medical mystery/thriller front. I definitely enjoyed this much like I did his previous work. It's definitely fun to come back to his repeating characters as well. For this one, I wasn't the biggest fan of the ending but I still found it enjoyable.

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Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for gifting me a digital ARC of the latest medical thriller by a favorite, Robin Cook - 5 stars!

Dr. Ryan Sullivan is a pathology resident, assigned to the Medical Examiner's Office for a month-long rotation. However, he hates doing autopsies and does everything in his power to get out of them. Chief Medical Examiner, Dr, Laurie Montgomery, has Ryan assist her on a suicide case in hopes of getting him intrigued. It didn't work quite as planned - Ryan still abhors autopsies, but is now engrossed in a research project. There have been a string of suicides with red flags pointing to possible homicides, but not enough evidence to definitively classify them as such. But his research project may put all of them in danger.

This series featuring Laurie Montgomery and her husband, Dr Jack Stapleton, also an ME, have long been one of my favorites. I somehow missed the last few, so definitely have to go back and rectify that. These books can certainly be read as stand alones, but are much better with all the history between the characters. This topic was so intriguing and topical, and I also learned a lot about medical legal investigators. I can't wait for the next book in this series - always highly recommended if you love a medical thriller like I do!

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