Harsimran Kaur  ON  Jan 16, 2023, IN BOOK REVIEW, NIGHT SHIFT BY ROBIN COOK-FICTION

Rating: 3.5/5

Jack Stapleton, a Medical Examiner, is faced with yet another case that has a farrago of distortions and reveals the intransigence of the human mind. Aficionados in the Medical examiner field, Jack leaves no stone unturned to fix the roller chain back to its confinement for the pedal to run smoothly.

“We speak for the dead”— Jack lives by the dictum as every dead body has a story to tell buried deep inside the base of the cranium followed by a ‘Y’ incision that is made from the shoulder to the end of the breastbone. The organs silently protest to be dissected, if a nuance of life still conspicuously prevails boasting of deleterious indulgences. 

Dr. Sue Passero, an internist at the Manhattan Memorial Hospital (MMH), is found dead in the front seat of her car parked at the garage of the hospital. Sue being a close friend of Lauri Montgomery, the Chief Medical Examiner, her death comes as a blow across an open wound, and to avoid any fleecing wings to fly, hands over the case to Jack for autopsy.

Jack initially finds the case a damp-squib, considering his fervour for the piquant jump off the cliff cases. But, after initial examination, the reason for death still hangs as a noose. This propels Jack to make numerous visits to MMH, a sine qua non to disinter the ghost of sinister medical practices surfacing from discordant minds.

Night Shift by Robin Cook is a continuation of the Jack Stapleton—Lauri Montgomery series. The field of medicine is complex; if it has known to save lives, numerous cases of terminal illnesses face the whiff of cruel death, not to forget the pain and suffering that debilitates the human body.

Who is to be blamed?

  • The illness, a de trop, which malignantly deprives the body of its willingness to live.
  • The panjandrum of doctors and surgeons who diagnose the labyrinth of fatal illnesses.
  • The medicines with their nefarious side effects that desiccate the body as a knackered machine.

Whatever the reason, the misery of a moribund patient is like as nest of pointed straws, pricking the pores of the skin, leaving it dithered. Robin Cook expounds on the intemperate and disconcerted minds that remain unbridled of their peccadillos. They are tempted to liberate the suffering of patients through actions incognito of their vacuous minds, stamping as a gesture of compassion and sensitivity. 

Jack, in the whataboutery of events, is familiarized with an emergence of a medical serial killer who he feels could be directly related to the murder of Sue. In the days that follow, he is able to screen the invidious perforation of MMH, and subsequently take on the role of a detective to exfoliate the pathology of his protracted thoughts.

TAKE AWAY

The story runs a fast-paced ride, though Jack turns out to be a smart rider not only on his accustomed bike but also the way his mind jumps from one set of denial to another. In the sweet block of jaggery lies the slippery crusts of reality, if let to spill from the hand, can cut the Earth beneath the feet.

Thrilling and absorbing…

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