Guest Review: Death Benefit by Robin Cook

Title: Death Benefit
Author: Robin Cook
Narrator: George Guidall
Series: N/A
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Release Date: 12/27/2011
Length: 11 hours
Format: Unabridged Audio CDs
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Challenges: N/A
Source: Publisher (thank you!)
Purchase: Audio CD
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Behind the prim gates of the Greenwich, Connecticut, McMansions, Wall Street whizzes turn their attentions from mortgages to another possible profit source: the $25 trillion life-insurance industry. By securitizing the policies of the old and sick, they hope to make another financial killing.

At the same time, Natalie Savondnik and Ronald Goodall-two exceptional yet aloof medical residents-are working closely with their medical center’s premier scientist on cutting-edge diabetes research. When their mentor dies suddenly, they launch a quiet investigation. As they dig deeper, it becomes clear that the scientist’s death was not from natural causes. Is it possible someone is manipulating private life insurance information to allow investors to benefit from the deaths of others?

I’ve just finished listening to the latest thriller by Robin Cook, Death Benefit. This book is a fast paced medical mystery set in New York City, Columbia Medical Center. Although the setting and story line were interesting, believable and full of twists and turns, I don’t think I’ve ever read or listened to a book in which I did not like one single character. The main character, Pia Grazdani, is like an automaton…..focused on understanding the death of her mentor, but she never did one thing in the book that made me like her or really even feel any sympathy for her. Her door mat of a friend, George Wilson, was even less likable for his inability to act on his own. The bad guys were just that, bad guys; and as such, I guess I could say I liked them as they fulfilled their roles.

George Guidall, who I have listened to on other books, was his exceptional self, although he couldn’t really make me like these characters either. I liked him better on Lillian Braun’s Cat Who books.

Would I recommend this book? Probably, but only to see if others agreed with me or if it is just my own lack of empathy for the characters of this book that made me dislike it. I was glad when it was finally finished.

Reviewed by Robyn (guest blogger). Thank for your thoughts, Robyn!

Leave a comment


  1. George Guidall also did a terrific job reading Tony Hillerman's Chee/Leaphorn Navajo Police series.Thanks for being honest with this one – I've thought about adding books that should've been contenders, but just haven't worked for me.

  2. Steve W

     /  January 31, 2012

    Thanks for the review, I’ve been reading them for a week ever since I ordered the book after hearing Cook in an interview on my favorite radio show. There are many complaints about Guidall’s performance narrating this book. I’m glad I am just going to read it though because I love medical thrillers, particularly by Cook. He is so informative. If you want to check out the interview you can find it in the archives at . I’m not sure where you are located so I couldnt tell you if the show is syndicated on air in your area but you can check out the site for that too.


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    Some of the books reviewed on this blog were sent to me by the author or publisher for review. I did not receive any payment in exchange for the review nor was I obligated to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of these reviews. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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