Off the Shelf
By Marcus Pan
Latest reading completion was a medical
thriller by Robin Cook called "Chromosome 6." Since I enjoyed the film
"Outbreak," Wowah picked it up for me one Christmas season. I enjoyed the novel
more than I expected to. This was, after all, my first medical thriller. Robin
Cook, being a doctor, made good work of details and facts around which to wrap
a well written thriller.
Kevin Marshall, a genetic scientist hired by corporation
GenSys to work on a special project in Africa, has found a way to isolate the
short arm of chromosome 6 that is discovered to hold most of the
histocombatibility complex. Utilizing this he develops a way to genetically
alter the chromosomes of other animals so that their genetic make-up is fully
compatible with human test subjects. Not a clone, but a creature with the exact
same blood type, exact same organ and internal composition. He perfects it to a
point that organs can be transplanted from these animals into their human
counterparts with virtually NO rejection in the human body. Imagine that for a
no matter what organ fails in your body you can have a new one that
is exactly compatible to your own and requires no anti-rejection therapy of any
form. Like changing a lightbulb. GenSys finds a profitable market for this
but is this ethical? Eventually, Kevin begins to worry about his
"creations" as he calls them. Using a form of ape, the bonobo, they are
beginning to show signs of human behavior; utilizing tools, fire, and forming a
pecking order similar to proto-human races. Even rudimentary oral communication
allowing these creatures to create a form of society. Has Kevin made a
Promethean mistake? Do the genes on the short arm of chromosome 6 contain ONLY
the body's histocompatibility complex for organs and internal parts, or does it
contain something more
like proto-intellectual or near-human make-up? Has
Kevin created a new race? If this is much too scientific for you to understand,
it's the only way I could make it have some form of sense.
Meanwhile, in New York City a mobster is gunned down. After
his body disappears from a city morgue, is chased around, eventually found and
then autopsied, medical examiner Jack Stapleton discovers evidence of a
transplanted organ. But there are no signs of immunization of anti-rejection
therapy drugs to support this. A wild chase ensues that drags Jack and his
co-worker/girlfriend, Laurie Montgomery, into a web of mafioso crime rings
where it is found that anyone with the money can have whatever spare body parts
who needs a transplant waiting list when you got the cash?
Jack and Laurie along with their friends find themselves in Africa staking out
an arm of the GenSys corporation to discover the genetic game playing that has
been perfected, and utilized unethically, halfway around the globe.
Chromosome 6 is not the best book I have read, nor is it the
worst. It is somewhere in the upper half of good books that I've delved into,
however. The ending of the novel left much to be desired
too many strings
left hanging. I would have liked to know what GenSys might have faced at the
hands of the law and/or ethical world committees or the like, but this was
never taken further. That's my major complaint, but it was still worth the
read. The story flows fairly well and isn't difficult to read regardless of the
highly scientific nature of the story. Hardcore readers will get through it
Not being one to re-read many books, as there are plenty out
there that I haven't read that I'd like to get around to, I'm offering this
hard cover semi-used copy of Robin Cook's "Chromosome 6" to the first person to
e-mail me their mailing addy. If you like medical thrillers, especially genetic
studies supported by excellent research and written by a real doctor, then
chances are you'll quite enjoy Chromosome 6 as I did. But before I send
there is a catch. Of course this is free and I don't expect any
monetary return, but you must read it. And when you're done, you can't throw it
out. Give it to someone else you think will enjoy it, or keep it on your book
shelf. Good books should never be thrown out. That's the only stipulation.
"Chromosome 6" by Robin Cook
The author of:
"Coma," "Fever," "Brain," "Sphinx," "Fatal Cure" and many more novels.
Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, USA, New York.
Copyright © 1997
by Robin Cook.
Click to Buy!