Dr. Robin Cook considers himself a doctor first and an author second; nevertheless, nearly every one of his novels has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list since the 1977 blockbuster Coma. Cook, who attended medical school at Columbia University and completed additional training at Harvard, has written novels that address the intersection of medicine, business, and technology.
Cook started his career, however, with a semi autobiographical book of middling success: The Year of the Intern, which attempted to expose some of the problems facing the medical community, and specifically the education of doctors. Cook has said of the novel, “It wasn’t very successful, which really hurt my feelings, my competitive feelings. I started telling my colleagues that I was going to write a bestseller.” Cook ultimately did so by studying dozens of books that had made the New York Times bestseller list and, rather than copying the existent formula, projected forward to what readers would be interested in next. The result was Coma, about a young medical student who discovers an unusually high number of patients at a fictionalized Boston Memorial Hospital who have gone into comas after routine surgeries. It was made into a movie in 1978, directed by Michael Crichton.
Building on his early success, Cook began to produce novels that predicted technological and ethical dilemmas that would come to face the medical community, including bioterrorism, stem cell research, nanotechnology, viral epidemics, and the politics surrounding organ transplants. He has said in interviews that his practice has informed his writing and vice versa.
Cook was born and raised in Queens, New York. After medical school, he served as a doctor on a US Navy submarine and worked at other underwater research institutes. Cook currently has houses in Boston, Florida, and Naples.