Host by Robin Cook – spoiled by a too-obvious agenda

Host by Robin Cook

 

See it at Amazon 

(2/5)

Pros: very intriguing medical story

Cons: horrible characters, an obvious agenda

Decent premise, lots of action, would make a great movie.  But, Dear Lord, can Robin Cook stop with the social justice!

I enjoy medical thrillers.  And Robin Cook’s Host has a lot going for it.  A lot that give this book the suspense-filled intrigue that I expect from this genre.  But Cook had an obvious agenda, and he shoved it down our throats.

First the good stuff: When a healthy young man goes in for a routine operation and never wakes up, there’s reason to question what happened.  Even stranger is the pattern that is discovered.  Apparently Carl isn’t the only person to suffer this fate.  His girlfriend Lynn is on the case.  Digging around, with the help of her buddy, Michael, the duo will turn every rock to find what is happening.

And as the body count starts to rise, it’s clear that some very powerful people are trying very hard to keep some very bad secrets.

All of that is good stuff, and the reason I enjoy this type of story.

But Michael is black.  I know this because it’s mentioned approximately 100 times throughout the story.  Not only do they let us know the color of Michael’s skin, but they tell us – over and over again – how much this defines Michael’s life, and how he suffers injustice because of it.  Like when they pass a stranger on the street and Michael has to lament how they looked away when he passed.  Or how it’s clear that nobody trusts him.  And when he goes anywhere with his friend, a white woman, people “raise their eyebrows” and quickly look away.   Worse, Michael can speak two languages… the king’s English or black-talk (both are his phrases, not mine).  Apparently, depending on the situation at hand, he can choose which way he wants to come off.  But then he complains when people appear to judge him or have preconceived notions about who he is.

Look, I’m not saying there’s no racism in this world.  And I’m not saying that people never judge others.

I’m just saying that when I read a thriller, I prefer to stick to that which will thrill, intrigue, and interest me.  If the author must toss some societal stuff at me, keep it to a minimum.  I don’t need it repeated ad nauseum throughout the book.  And, frankly, I didn’t like Lynn much better.  Here’s a typical Lynn thought: “I know I shouldn’t open that door because there’s someone there trying to kill me – but I just HAVE to open that door”.  She’s like the dumb person in every horror movie – the person who runs upstairs instead of out the door.

So, read Host for the medical story – it’s actually quite good.  But you’ll be rolling your eyes at a lot of nonsense, too.

Also by Robin Cook

Mindbend

 

 

 

Distelfinks Paint By Number Kit from ArtYouCraft

Distelfinks Paint By Number Kit from ArtYouCraft

 

 pic1

(5/5)

Pros: Gorgeous, and unique kit

Cons: Not a single one!

Isn’t this picture adorable?  It’s a paint-by-number craft kit from http://www.artyoucraft.com.    This adorable pair of love birds is called “Distelfinks” and is available in 8 different color combinations.  It’s just one of many designs available on their website.  Take a look, there’s something there for everyone!

What makes these kits different from the normal paint-by-number kits?  Well, the main difference is that you’re painting on wood, not a canvas.  So when you’re done, you have a sturdy piece of art that can hang on a wall, or lie flat on a table.  Use the varnish included in the kit to make it shine!

The other difference is that some of the designs have spots where you don’t paint anything.  You allow the wood to show through in its natural beauty.  This particular picture doesn’t have any un-painted spots, but others do.  For instance the Wheel Of Hearts has unpainted wheels and spokes on the sides.

The kit includes everything you need.  In this case, there are 10 canisters of paint.  9 bright colors and black, for touch-up work.  The paints are high-quality acrylics.  Easy to use, and easy to wash.  You also get two paintbrushes, a paper template that tells you where each color goes, sandpaper, a hanger, and clear instructions.  In fact, the instructions are some of the best I’ve seen in kits of this type.  They fully explain how to paint the picture, care for the brushes and paints, varnish the completed project, and hang it.

Teens through adults will enjoy this project.  Even some kids might enjoy it, but you’ll have to help them touch up any spots where they go outside the lines, and maybe help them with some of the smaller areas where it takes a bit of steady hand.

I like how mine came out, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it.  The price for the kit is fair, given everything that comes with it, and the website’s customer service has been outstanding.  I highly recommend you take a look at http://www.artyoucraft.com if you enjoy paint-by-number kits.

Other paint by number kits:

Afternoon Nap by Dimensions
Bengal Tiger by Schipper
Japanese Garden by Bucilla
Siberian Tiger by Plaid
Taj Mahal by Schipper
Wheel Of Hearts