THE CURE by David Shobin


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Medical thriller about a feckless young doctor in over the head he ought to have examined.

Take that whole risky business with Restore Tabs, for instance. Anyone playing with a full deck would have known the darn things were too good to be true. Wake up, heedless (if handsome) young Dr. Steven McClaren. Enhances breast size, increases sex drive, chases wrinkles—and that’s just for starters, he’s told. So there’s gullible Dr. Steve irresponsibly doing TV commercials for Ecolabs, the herb firm that makes and markets Restore Tabs—and he’s doing it simply because his old college buddy, the company’s CEO, has asked him to. In the meantime, that hot new miracle product, “the female Viagara,” has suddenly begun to cause vaginal bleeding in a goodly percentage of those persuaded to use it. Oh, mindless Dr. Steve. Equally ill-advised is his torrid affair with Ecolabs exec Francesca Taylor. Never mind that “bar none, she had the greatest body” he’d ever seen, the point is that only a dim bulb could have failed to spot her as a distaff Iago. And Dr. Steve pays a draconian price for the lust in his heart. Thanks to Francesca and her several co-conspirators, he’s bitten by a poisonous Australian jellyfish, nearly flattened by a charging Mercedes, knocked down, stabbed, and burnt out—escaping the flames that consume his house at the very last minute. Why are Francesca and friends in such a conspiratorial frenzy? A get-rich scam involving Restore Tabs seems to be at the heart of it, though it’s hard to be definitive when a plot becomes as muddled as this one. And also hard to care much when Dr. Steve muddles through this seventh try for physician/novelist Shobin (The Unborn, 1981, etc.).

Slap-dash plotting, pedestrian prose, stick figure hero: a terminal case.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-312-26686-3
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2000