Author: Robin Cook
Main Characters: Jack Stapleton, Laurie Montgomery, Terese Hagen, Calvin Washington(deputy chief), Colleen Anderson, Chet, Dr. Zimmerman, Dr. Martin Cheveau, Warren, Slam,Spit, Lou Soldano, Bingham, Richard Overstreet and Beth Holderness
JACK STAPLETON is a very interesting character, and I naturally like him the most. From John, he becomes Jack. From an overweight conservative with old tastes, he becomes a ‘pickup basketball nut’ as he describes himself. He lives in the 106th street, in Harlem, along with NY gangsters. A conversation, about where he lives, goes this way:
“Come on,” Chet said. “Where do you live?”
“I live on the Upper West Side,” Jack said. “It’s no secret.”
“In the seventies?” Chet asked.
“A bit higher,” Jack said.
“You are not going to tell me it’s higher than nineties, are you?” Chet asked.
“A tad,” Jack said. “I live on a Hundred and Sixth street.”
“Good grief!” Chet exclaimed. “You are living in Harlem.”
“What’s in a name?” Jack shrugged.
“Why in the world live in Harlem?” Chet asked. “Of all the neat places to live in and around the city, why live there? It can’t be a nice neighbourhood. Besides, it must be dangerous!”
Not only does Jack live in such a place, he is also friends with the gangsters by playing Basketball along with them. Apart from this, Jack is a professional doctor, and very committed to his work. He is a truly hard worker, and is very smart. Finally, Jack Stapleton ends up being a perfect “Detective Doc”.
Jack Stapleton gets seriously bored with the mundane cases in the pit, autopsy room, until his colleague cum friend, Laurie Montgomery, allots him the case of a man, named Nodelman, whose diagnosis is an unknown infectious disease. The case appeals to Jack Stapleton, and he becomes very interested it it. Finally, in front of Calvin Washington, the deputy chief, Dr. Stapleton predicts the disease that killed Nodelman as plague. It remains a statement to joke and laugh at, until Agnes tests a lung sample and really finds it to be plague. They alert the City Board of Health. Since Nodelman had been a patient in Manhattan General, Jack straight goes to the Manhattan General hospital to inform them. Due to his sarcasm, he gets thrown out of the hospital by the heads. He leaves it to hell.
But, this just doesn't stop with that. Everyday, more interesting cases come to him, all originating from the Manhattan General. And Jack makes astounding diagnoses of serious diseases such as influenza, tularemia, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever(rickettsia). This time, he tries to visit the hospital without getting noticed by his enemies there. He manages to make some friends over there, but is not able to find anything fruitful. And- he also gets caught while stealthily trying to talk in the microbiology lab. But, Bigham, his employer doesn’t fire him. He is still employed.
And what more! The people in Manhattan General do not like his theory of all these diseases being spread intentionally by a doctor(Or is it just one person who has hired them to beat up Jack?), and they decide to hire a few men from the Black Kings, a gang from Harlem, to do away with Jack. But Jack has his own friendly gang to protect him. It becomes a gang war, really. By this time, Laurie, his friend, gets all worried about him, and calls her Detective friend, Lou Soldano, to protect Jack.
Then it reaches the climax. Jack’s suspicion about a doctor spreading these diseases is confirmed. He just needs to find who he/she is. And he gets into a lot of trouble. He gets captured by the disease-spreading villains, and is then saved later by the gangsters.
This book- Contagion- is really very thrilling. This is my first book by Robin Cook featuring Jack Stapleton. I enjoyed it very much.