In the New York Times bestseller Chromosome 6, author Robin
Cook takes the possibilities of genetic manipulation and cloning
to a new level. As the novel begins, a nerdy molecular biologist
in Equatorial Guinea (Africa) begins to question the ethics
of his own research while two determined pathologists in New
York City discover a mysterious liver transplant in an unidentified
murder victim one day after a corpse is stolen from their morgue.
As the novel unfolds, Cook provides mystery, suspense, and
humor for anyone who enjoys science but lacks the patience or
interest to read research material.
Even though Cook provides a glossary of medical and scientific
terms, his novel is not an easy read. Still, it can be enjoyed
by readers with different levels of knowledge in genetics and
Kevin Marshal, the nerdy molecular biologist, works for a large
corporation called GenSys in a virtually uninhabited African
country. Surrounded by rainforests, the town of Cogo in Equatorial
Guinea provides an ideal atmosphere to run a highly secretive
laboratory to conduct genetic experimentations. In his five
years of working for GenSys, Marshal developed a method of transferring
the short arm of chromosome six from humans to bonobos (a type
of monkey) in order to clone compatible organs to sell for human
Marshal begins to question his genetic manipulation when he
discovers shocking facts about chromosome six that lead him
to believe he has created a new species somewhere between man
Marshal teams up with two beautiful young women who are also
convinced that GenSys has taken animal experimentation and genetic
manipulation too far. In their haste to uncover the consequences
of Marshal’s work, they alert dangerous GenSys employees prepared
to hide their corporation’s developments at any cost.
Meanwhile, pathologists Jack Stapleton and Laurie Montgomery
investigate a missing mafia corpse stolen from their morgue
and a suspicious unidentified “floater.” When Stapleton performs
his autopsy on the floater, he discovers that the victim had
a liver transplant. He is unable to find the donor in an attempt
to identify the victim, and the DNA from the liver and the victim
appear to be the same. The victim appears to have had a liver
transplant with his own liver!
As Stapleton focuses on the floater, Montgomery continues searching
for the missing corpse. Clues from these cases lead the pathologists
closer and closer to uncovering the true intentions of the mysterious
Cook writes his thriller from many different points of view:
Marshal’s, Stapleton’s, Montgomery’s, and various villains’.
The lack of focus on one or two main characters and settings
leads to some confusion in the first five chapters, but as the
book progresses, the reader becomes more familiar with each
character and his or her function.
Dr. Robin Cook is a graduate of Columbia Medical School. He
finished his postgraduate medical training at Harvard. He is
the author of many bestselling novels including Outbreak, Mutation,
Blindsight, and more.