Robin Cook (American novelist)

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"Robin Cook (novelist)" redirects here. For the UK novelist, see Derek Raymond.
Dr. Robin Cook
Robin Cook in Warsaw Poland 2008.jpg
Robin Cook in Warsaw (2008)
Born Robert Brian Cook
(1940-05-04) May 4, 1940 (age 75)
New York City
Occupation Author, Surgeon, Ophthalmologist, Aquanaut
Genre Fiction, Medical Thriller

Dr. Robert Brian "Robin" Cook (born May 4, 1940 in New York City)[1] is an American physician and novelist who writes about medicine and topics affecting public health.

He is best known for combining medical writing with the thriller genre. Many of his books have been bestsellers on the New York Times Bestseller List. Several of his books have also been featured in Reader's Digest. His books have sold nearly 400 million copies worldwide .[2]


Early life and career[edit]

Cook grew up in Queens, New York and moved to Leonia, New Jersey when he was eight, where he could first have the "luxury" of having his own room.[3] He graduated from Wesleyan University and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and finished his postgraduate medical training at Harvard.[4]

Cook ran the Cousteau Society's blood-gas lab in the south of France. He later became an aquanaut (a submarine doc) with the U.S. Navy's SEALAB program when he was drafted in 1969.[5] Cook served in the Navy from 1969 to 1971, reaching the rank of lieutenant commander. He wrote his first novel, The Year of the Intern, while serving on the Polaris submarine USS Kamehameha.[1]

Private life[edit]

He divides his time between homes in Boston and Naples, Florida, where he lives with his wife, Jean, and his son. He is currently on leave from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. He has successfully combined medical fact with fantasy to produce a succession of bestselling literature. Cook's medical thrillers are designed, in part, to keep the public aware of both the technological possibilities of modern medicine and the ensuing socio-ethical problems which come along with it.


Cook is a private member of the Woodrow Wilson Center's Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees, led by chairman Joseph B. Gildenhorn, are appointed to six-year terms by the President of the United States.[6]


Cook's novels have anticipated national controversy. In an interview with Stephen McDonald about the novel Shock, Cook admits the book's timing was fortuitous: "I suppose that you could say that it's the most like Coma in fact that it deals with an issue that everybody seems to be concerned about," he says, "I wrote this book to address the stem cell issue, which the public really doesn't know anything about. Besides entertaining readers, my main goal is to get people interested in some of these issues, because it's the public that ultimately should be able to decide which way we ought to go in something as ethically questioning as stem cell research."[7]

To date, Cook has explored issues such as organ donation, fertility treatment, genetic engineering, in – vitro fertilization, research funding, managed care, medical malpractice, medical tourism, drug research, and organ transplantation.[8]

I joke that if my books stop selling, I can always fall back on brain surgery," he says. "But I am still very interested in it. If I had to do it over again, I would still study medicine. I think of myself more as a doctor who writes, rather than a writer who happens to be a doctor." He explained the popularity of his works thus: "The main reason is, we all realize we are at risk. We're all going to be patients sometime," he says. "You can write about great white sharks or haunted houses, and you can say I'm not going into the ocean or I'm not going in haunted houses, but you can't say you're not going to go into a hospital.

— [7]

Cook says he chose to write thrillers because the forum gives him "an opportunity to get the public interested in things about medicine that they didn't seem to know about. I believe my books are actually teaching people."[8]

The author admits he never thought that he would have such compelling material to work with when he began writing fiction in 1970. "If I tried to be the writer I am today a number of years ago, I wouldn't have very much to write about. But today, with the pace of change in biomedical research, there are any number of different issues, and new ones to come," he says.[7]

Many of his novels revolve around hospitals (both fictional and non-fictional) in Boston, which may have to do with the fact that he underwent his post-graduate training at Harvard and has a residence in Boston.[citation needed]

Film and television adaptations[edit]


Jack Stapleton & Laurie Montgomery


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Stookey, Lorena Laura (1996). Robin Cook: A Critical Companion, Westport, CT, London: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-29578-6
  2. ^ AEI Speakers, American Entertainment International Speakers Bureau. "Robin Cook Biography". Second and fifth paragraphs. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
  3. ^ Fabrikant, Geraldine. "TALKING MONEY WITH: DR. ROBIN COOK;Prescription: Real Estate, And Lots of It", The New York Times, January 21, 1996. Accessed April 4, 2011. "Dr. Cook's fascination with real estate goes back to his childhood. He grew up in Queens, the son of an art director at an advertising agency who bought a photostat business. Money was usually tight, he said, though by the time he was 8 years old, the family had 'nudged its way into the middle class' and moved to Leonia, N.J."
  4. ^ Cooking Another Medical Thriller, Naple News. By Sandy Reed. "Q&A about [Robin Cook's] 31st book and much more." Sixth paragraph. March 27, 2012. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  5. ^ Jay McDonald. "Workaholic doctor-author says money never a goal". Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  6. ^ " : About : Woodrow Wilson Center Board of Trustees". Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  7. ^ a b c Jay McDonald. "What a shock: Robin Cook fuses stem cells with a suspenseful tale". Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  8. ^ a b "Author Biography". Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  9. ^ a b "Robin Cook Info". Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  10. ^ "Television Movie: Robin Cook's Harmful Intent". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ "Harmful Intent". Moviefone. 
  12. ^ "Morta Fear". moviefone. Retrieved May 9, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Mortal Fear". IMDb. November 20, 1994. 
  14. ^ "Terminal". IMDB. 1986. 

External links[edit]