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Publisher's Summary

In this electrifying medical thriller from New York Times best-selling author Robin Cook, a family’s exposure to a rare yet deadly virus ensnares them in a growing danger to mankind - and pulls back the curtain on a healthcare system powered by profit and greed.

Trying to find some normalcy during the COVID-19 pandemic, Brian Murphy and his family are on a summer excursion in Cape Cod when his wife, Emma, comes down with concerning flu-like symptoms. But their leisurely return home to New York City quickly becomes a race to the local hospital as she suddenly begins seizing in the car. At the ICU, she is diagnosed with eastern equine encephalitis, a rare and highly lethal mosquito-borne viral disease seemingly caught during one of their evening cookouts. Complicating the situation further, Brian and Emma’s young daughter then begins to exhibit alarming physical and behavioral symptoms, too.

Emma’s harrowing hospital stay becomes even more fraught when Brian receives a staggering hospital bill full of outrageous charges and murky language. To add insult to injury, his health insurance company refuses to cover any of the cost, citing dubious clauses in Brian’s policy. Forced to choose between the ongoing care of family and bills he can never pay, and furious at a shockingly indifferent healthcare system, Brian vows to seek justice. But to get to the bottom of the predatory practices targeting his loved ones and countless others, he must uncover the dark side of an industry that has strayed drastically from its altruistic roots - and bring down the callous executives preying on the sick and defenseless before the virus can claim even more people....

©2021 Robin Cook (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Well thought-out and the characters are interesting and relatable. It is also fast-paced and easy to read. I enjoyed it and am eager to read another of Cook’s novels.” (Mystery and Suspense)

“I love Robin Cook novels and this one is another good one. It incorporates not only COVID but the whole US health care system, which needs a major overhaul to help out every American citizen. The characters and story are well-written and you feel for Brian throughout the story and the plight he goes through.” (Red Carpet Crash

What listeners say about Viral

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Disappointed

The narrator was the best part of the book. I expected the typical Cook style novel and had anticipated it for months. It was a 12 hour rant about hospital costs. No who done it and no climax. Save your money and let Dr. Cook know that he can't disappoint us and expect us to come back for more.

13 people found this helpful

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preachy and tiring

couldnt finish this awful book. waste of a credit. wife wants a refund. dont buy!

12 people found this helpful

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I tried so hard to like this

I LOVE Robin Cook. I have been looking forward to this release for months. Unfortunately, it fell completely flat. Not at all like his usual other books. Really completely unbelievable. It was difficult to finish and the ending was ridiculous. Sorry to be so aggressive - but what a disappointment.

10 people found this helpful

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An agenda under the cover of fiction

Some of my favorite fiction stories are written by insiders – spy novels written by former spies, science fiction written by scientists, and in this case, a medical doctor writing a book on health care. Although a work of fiction, Robin Cook’s take on medical costs – from patient care to insurance to capitalism – is so myopic and completely one-sided that for first time in my history with Robin Cook books - I’m very disappointed. I’m not sure if Dr. Cook practiced medicine in any significant manner prior to becoming a writer but I would have expected a medical doctor with even just a few years of training to have a much better understanding of the complexity of health care – from actual patient care (his part of medicine) to how it’s paid for (the business part of medicine). My review isn’t motivated by my disagreement Cook's underlying agenda to blame our imperfect medical system on capitalism but rather how an experienced writer (and medical doctor) like Dr. Cook could have such a simplistic view of healthcare. To simply pin 100% of healthcare costs to “greedy private equity” is simplistic shows how little he actually understands the system. Sadly - Cook missed a great opportunity to send a better message to his readers - he could have even used his gift as a fiction writer to help readers better understand these complex issues and how we might actually resolve them. Instead, the author attempts to convince us that healthcare problems in the United States (which I would agree with him is in need of reform) is 100% the fault of greedy capitalists – while anyone who has spent a few hours researching healthcare costs will tell you that while the for-profit component is certainly partly to blame, so are other factors like our need for malpractice reform, administrative expense, insurance complexity, high-maintenance patients, “the worried-well”, mis-informed patients, and yes - even some bad doctors – just to name a few. He suggests that healthcare in European countries (even Cuba) is superior to that in the United States – a rather bizarre claim as most people from these regions have their own complaints unique to their system. Cook's main character, while understandably faced with emotional extremes throughout the book, is very impulsive, angry, unpredictable (which is odd given he’s in law enforcement), and a very uninformed healthcare consumer. Healthcare executives are described in a very inaccurate, bizarre (characters in his book refer to company leadership as "our esteemed CEO"), and even intellectually dishonest manner (they go home before 5:00pm) – further taking away from the plot as the writer’s use of extreme stereotypes of corporate America aren’t much better than our modern day cable news stations presenting partisan opinion shows as actual “news”.

TO me the author seems so focused on sending an extreme, one-sided agenda regarding healthcare to the reader that he also makes several basic writing mistakes – forgetting to provide closure in some areas, leaving out critical details, and drawing conclusions no reader even minimally information about this issue would agree with. But my big disappointment with this book is that I expected much more from Robin Cook – an author I’ve historically enjoyed – who seems to be getting bitter and more interested in communicating his personal agenda under the guise as fiction. Dr. Cook – please return to your well-researched medical fiction – I miss it.

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Excellent book and narrator

First read by this author. Was not disappointed! Kept me on the edge of my seat thruout. Well written and thoroughly enjoyed right to the end!!

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Love hate book

This book builds so many emotions throughout. A well written slap of reality!!! Robin at his best as usual!!!

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Disappointing for a Robin Cook novel

This story is about the how medical claims are handled and how the insurance company is handling these claims. Very little is medical or about the particular virus EEE.

The narrator(s) should learn how to properly imitate a French accent. Sometimes the accent would be British, sometimes even German but as a French speaking reader, neither readers got the accent event close.

Also, too many unnecessary details about the environment… pointing out to Jeanne the hazards in the road that’s under construction…

I’m halfway through & will not finish this novel - kept reading in hopes that something medically spectactular would come about but it’s all about insurance.

Very disappointed in R. Cook…

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Epic

A must read for everyone!! Especially greedy capitalists. Our existence depends on humans taking climate change as relevant!

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Confused

I am confused as to why some reviewers did not like this book. Ok so it is fiction but I bet there is alot of truths in this book. I found it to be thought provking. Unless you are wealthy and can afford insurance then you are S.O.L.

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A mother’s perspective . . .

Overall the book was intriguing, well written, and terribly sad. I almost stopped reading it after Part 2, finding it so frustrating and frankly unbelievable that a parent AND various medical professionals would all totally fail to foresee and rule out something so blatantly obvious that was happening before their very eyes, totally ignoring clues given to them on numerous occasions by the patient, not ruling out a diagnosis that should have been their very first thought, given what had just happened a few days before.

I have always loved Mr. Cook’s novels, and this was no exception, except for this segment that I found frustratingly difficult to grasp as a mother of 4.

1 person found this helpful