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January 6, 2012 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: Death Benefit by Robin Cook

Death Benefit
by Robin Cook
Read by: George Guidall

Genre: Medical Thriller
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks
Publish Date: December 27, 2011
Format: Audio CD | 11 hours and 37 minutes
Rating: 3 of 5

Pia Grazdani, a talented medical student, is working with a prestigious scientist, Dr. Rothman, on stem cell research to create human replacement organs. The research, which will revolutionize treatment of many diseases, is only months away from being completed when a disaster strikes the lab. Dr. Rothman and one of his associates become deathly ill while working in the lab and die within hours. Pia does not believe this is an accident and, with the help of her friend George, begins her own investigation much to the distress of school administrators. A potential murder investigation would not be good for the school.

I liked Pia. She is smart, strong-willed and independent. Orphaned at an early age she was raised in the foster system and learned to depend on herself and no one else. She still suffers from nightmares and cannot allow anyone to get close to her even though her friend George would do anything to help her.

Meanwhile, several ex-Wall street hot-shots think they have hit on the investment idea of the century. They formed a company to buy insurance policies from terminally ill people for pennies on the dollar. The future seems bright until someone begins shorting their stock. As soon as other investors find out about this, their company will be worthless.

Scattered throughout the story are a few chapters with some very unlikeable characters from the Albanian mob. It got a little unbelievable and this element of the plot could have been handled differently and still been effective. To avoid spoilers I’ll not say much more other than all three seemingly unconnected storylines come together in the end.

The narration by George Guidall was a pleasure to listen to with a smooth, flowing style. I usually prefer a female main character to be narrated by a woman’s voice but Guidall did a capable job with Pia and I was not distracted by the lack of a female reader. The book was written in the third person so there was more narration than dialog.

I enjoyed this medical thriller that combines the right amount of current research, factual information and an engaging story. Stem cell research and organ replacement are timely and interesting topics and easily held my attention over the eleven hours of the audiobook.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
For more audiobook reviews visit Sound Bytes at Devourer of Books.


Leave a Comment
  1. Darlene / Jan 6 2012 10:12 am

    I used to read a lot of Cook’s books and enjoyed them. I didn’t know he had a new one out. I may have to read ine of his again one of these days although medical thrillers kind of freak me out now.


    • Leslie / Jan 6 2012 5:34 pm

      I hadn’t read one of his books in a while. I still like medical thrillers, they haven’t creeped me out yet!


  2. BermudaOnion / Jan 6 2012 4:57 pm

    Like Dar, I used to read a lot of Cook’s work, but then they all began to feel the same. It’s been a while, so maybe I should try him again.


  3. Diane@BibliophileBytheSea / Jan 6 2012 8:12 pm

    Sorry this one wasn’t first rate. I actually tried the first disc of this one today, but I don’t enjoy that reader. I’ve heard him before and just didn’t enjoy it. I did like the earlier Robin Cook a lot. I think I might try Steinbeck’s East of Eden on audio next (along with the print copy).


    • Leslie / Jan 6 2012 8:41 pm

      I thought the narration was ok. The plot got a little over the top with the Albanians though.

      I haven’t read East of Eden. If the audio is good I may give that a try.


  4. Suko / Jan 6 2012 8:53 pm

    Terrific review! Medical thrillers seem to be growing in number! Enjoy your weekend.


  5. Matt / Jan 31 2012 11:37 pm

    Thanks for the great review! Medical thrillers are a favorite of mine because I am fascinated by science. After hearing an interview with Robin on my favorite radio show, The Book Report, last week I ordered the book and now I find myself reading reviews in anticipation! The show is actually on in your area (that is if you’re still in chicago) but if I miss it on air in my area I catch it online at or in the site’s archives. I love the host, I bet the show would help you pick which books to review yourself.


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