A Cure To Die For: A Medical Thriller


Let's start with the premise. A botanist genetically engineers a marijuana plant and a poisonous plant together to make an herbal medicine that can cure any disease known to mankind and some unknown ones, I presume. The one hitch is the patient has to continue to take the medicine or the disease will return. The pharmaceutical company funded the research stops at nothing to eliminate the miracle cure, including murder, less all their products, and obviously profits, go down the tube. It is left up to our heroes to battle the drug companies, an evil senator (is there any other kind in a thriller?) and mercenary thugs in order to keep the research alive and therefore save humankind.

Let's think this through. The drug company owns the research, they therefore will own the patent and have a monopoly on the cure. I don't think it takes much brains to see that the corporation holding the cure to cancer, the universe, and everything will make tons of moola, regardless of what they sold before. The fact that their customer have to keep taking it, therefore buying it repeatedly, is icing on the cake. Why the hell would they want to destroy it? Now keeping other people from stealing it makes sense but destroy it? I don't think so. Such a plot would only be sensible to Laetrile proponents and gimmicky conspiracy thriller writers.

But if that was the only complaint I had, I could go with it. After all, wasn't it Arthur C. Clarke who said that every novel is entitled to have one unbelievable thing in it? Unfortunately, A Cure to Die For is sloppily written, loaded with spur-of-the-moment unbelievable contrivances, and packed with cardboard heroes and villains. It's the kind of world in which the evil senator sprouts out things like "Words are Turds!" and our hero's first thought, on finding out his new infatuation is going to die of cancer, is what her breasts will look like in the last stage. I know we males obsess about breasts but be real! The heroine isn't much better, going off like a volcano because her boy friend takes pain pills while she is taking a drug that is basically addictive. Well, OK. It cures her cancer. But I think you see what I mean.

Essentially, it's a thriller that isn't much of a thriller. It's predictable with no real sense of tension and foreboding. I really wanted to like it. Despite the preposterous plot it could have been fun. But the string of predictable actions and cliche responses got to me. By the end I was still rooting for the heroes but only so they could win or lose and I could get on with my mundane but realistic life.

So obviously it is a book I can not recommend. As I said. I really like thrillers but this novel isn't thrilling nor it is very medical.
I guess I'll just have to reread some old Robin Cook novels if I want a medical thriller.