This week’s post will be brief because I woke up this morning with flu-like symptoms that have been making me feel achy-breaky most of the day. Authorities tell us that any flu this season can be assumed to be H1N1, formerly known as swine. The good news is that most cases are going to be relatively mild. But don’t take that for granted–the husband of a close friend of mine (who suffers from asthma), spent three weeks in St. James Hospital here, and it was touch and go for a while after it it settled into his lungs as pneumonia. If you have any type of lung or pulmonary issues, and you come down with flu, don’t wait before getting treatment. Do it right away.

The flu has fallen out of the media spotlight, but it has spread to just about everywhere by now. Here’s the CDC flu map, in case you haven’t been following the story lately.

Muscle aches aside, I do want to pull the topic back to writing, so I’ll list some of my favorite stories involving viruses: The Andromeda Strain, The Hot Zone (nonfiction and not well written, but it did scare the hell out of me). And now I’m putting Robin Cook’s Contagion on my TBR list. I saw Mr. Cook speak at Thrillerfest, and it’s amazing how brilliant and prolific as an author he is.

What are your favorite medical thrillers? Did any scare the bejeezus out of you?


10 thoughts on “Contagion

  1. Kathryn, here’s wishing you a speedy recovery. COMA by Robin Cook would have to be my number one favorite medical thriller. At the time, I found both the book and movie frightening. A close second is the medical thriller SECONDS by David Ely. It was made into a major motion picture staring Rock Hudson. Absolutely chilling.

    A more recent medical thriller I recommend is DEADLY ERRORS by Allen Wyler. I was honored to be asked to blurb the book. Part of my comment was that “Wyler does for hospitals what Benchley did for the ocean.”

  2. I loved COMA too! I know I must still have it someplace on my shelves, so I’ll go dig it out for a reread. Putting SECONDS and DEADLY ERRORS on my TBR pile, thanks Joe!

  3. I sanitized me hands to type this, so I should be okay.

    I think the ANDROMEDA STRAIN is the gold standard for medical thrillers. Just enough science fiction in it to get the reader over a few humps when it came time to suspend a little disbelief.

  4. Hope you feel better soon Kathryn! I’m such a wimp I don’t think I’ve actually read any medical thrillers – clearly everything medical scares me!

  5. My favorite medical thriller was after I consumed a goat roti on the Island of St. Vincent. Let me tell ya, there’s a novel in that experience…..

    Hope you feel better soon Kathryn! The flu sucks.

  6. “Next” & “Prey” both by Chrichton. Good stuff, and included talking monkeys.

    Also the “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” series. While not technically medical thrillers, Douglas Adams did have significant references to bodily functions and was clearly involved in pharmaceuticals…at least from a user perspective.

  7. COMA was awesome, but I also liked the movie Outbreak. Some of the action was a little forced for effect, but I liked the chase for the host. Blaming it on the military seemed a little too easy, but overall it was entertaining.

  8. I forgot the talking-parrot one, Basil! That was actually incredibly creepy, maybe because I’ve been reading about human-pig DNA experiments (or maybe that was the dino/frog-DNA stuff in Jurassic Park. Anyway, it was creepy!). Douglas, I agree about the military-bashing in Outbreak being heavy-handed. I remember the LA riots and how thankful we all were when the National Guard showed up. It’s incredibly scary how quickly society can break down, and not just from disease.

  9. I liked the early Michael Crighton ones, and Robin Cook’s always fun. Used to read his books after my son had finished with them. Coma’s definitely a favorite.

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