DR. MONTE CRISTO by Irwin Philip Sobel


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When self-righteous, Calvinistic Dr. John Calvin gets wise to a fantastically lucrative fee-splitting deal between a society doc and an alcoholic surgeon, the malevolent medicos frame him for the murder of a dying patient (they have mob connections), and Dr. John kills himself in jail. Then Mrs. C. dies of lung cancer. So son Jim Calvin decides to grow up ""smart and strong enough to kill Dad's murderers one by one."" Instead, he eventually (after reform school and college basketball stardom under his assumed name of Monte Cristo) just drives the surgeon to suicide, sends the society doc to jail, and paralyzes their thug crony with a karate chop. A penny-dreadful, bare-bones plot--but not to worry. Dr. Sobel has no end of padding at his command. Some of it is pleasant padding--like the once-a-week affair between that alcoholic surgeon and a homely sweetie named Hattie Rumf. But most of the padding is awful and gratuitous: a well-intentioned terrorist takeover of a hospital (the opening), a thinly disguised and astonishingly extraneous account of the acoustics problems at N.Y.'s Avery Fisher Hall, and--awk!--such gross-outs as when a character refers to ""The Virus Killer by Sobel, published by Doubleday. I read a lot, you know, and it's not bad."" Oh, yeah? Well. . . Dr. Monte Cristo by Sobel, published by Doubleday. I read a lot, you know, and it's bad.

Pub Date: May 5th, 1978
Publisher: Doubleday