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Saturday, Aug 27, 2016
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'Death Benefit' slow-paced but worthwhile

"Death Benefit" (G.P. Putnam's Sons), by Robin Cook Robin Cook's "Death Benefit" is a slow-paced but ultimately rewarding reading experience. Pia Grazdani is a medical student at Columbia University Medical Center. Her colleague George Wilson idolizes her every move, but Pia is focused on her studies. She carries a lot of mental baggage, and sees working with Dr. Tobias Rothman, who is researching the growth of organs with a new stem cell process, as the key to finding peace and happiness. Meanwhile, two men have created a company that buys life-insurance policies from the elderly and sick for a fraction of their worth. They stand to make a financial killing when the insured dies. They learn of Rothman's research and realize that if his process succeeds, they will default on billions of dollars.
Stem-cell research for replacement organs for the critically ill is fascinating. Add using life-insurance policies as a way to make money and the result is an intense read that raises thought-provoking questions. The beginning of "Death Benefit" is a bit hard to get through, but digging through the first 100 pages proves worthwhile in the end.