Cover image for Seizure
Title:
Seizure
Author:
Cook, Robin, 1940-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Putnam [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
x, 464 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Subject Term:
ISBN:
9780399148767
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Senator Ashley Butler is a quintessential Southern demagogue whose support of traditional American values includes a knee-jerk reaction against virtually all biotechnologies. When he's called to chair a subcommittee introducing legislation to ban new cloning technology, the senator views his political future in bold relief; and Dr. Daniel Lowell, inventor of the technique that will take stem cell research to the next level, sees a roadblock positioned before his biotech startup. The two seemingly opposite personalities clash during the senate hearings, but the men have a common desire. Butler's hunger for political power far outstrips his concern for the unborn; and Lowell's pursuit of gargantuan personal wealth and celebrity overrides any considerations for patients' well-being. Further complicating the proceedings is the confidential news that Senator Butler has developed Parkinson's disease-leading the senator and the researcher into a Faustian pact. In a perilous attempt to prematurely harness Lowell's new technology, the therapy leaves the senator with the horrifying effects of temporal lobe epilepsy-seizures of the most bizarre order. Torn from the headlines, Seizureis a cautionary tale for a time where biotechnology pulls us into a promising yet frightening new world.


Author Notes

Robin (Robert William Arthur) Cook, the master of the medical thriller novel, was born to Edgar Lee Cook, a commercial artist and businessman, and Audrey (Koons) Cook on May 4, 1940, in New York City. Cook spent his childhood in Leonia, New Jersey, and decided to become a doctor after seeing a football injury at his high school. He earned a B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1962, his M.D. from Columbia University in 1966, and completed postgraduate training at Harvard before joining the U.S. Navy. Cook began his first novel, The Year of the Intern, while serving on a submarine, basing it on his experiences as a surgical resident.

In 1979, Cook wed Barbara Ellen Mougin, on whom the character Denise Sanger in Brain is based.

When Year of the Intern did not do particularly well, Cook began an extensive study of other books in the genre to see what made a bestseller. He decided to focus on suspenseful medical mysteries, mixing intricately plotted murder and intrigue with medical technology, as a way to bring controversial ethical and social issues affecting the medical profession to the attention of the general public. His subjects include organ transplants, genetic engineering, experimentation with fetal tissue, cancer research and treatment, and deadly viruses. Cook put this format to work very successfully in his next books, Coma and Sphinx, which not only became bestsellers, but were eventually adapted for film. Three others, Terminal, Mortal Fear, and Virus, and Cook's first science- fiction work, Invasion, have been television movies. In 2014 her title, Cell made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Cook's latest medical thriller centers around two men--Daniel Lowell, a brilliant researcher, and Ashley Butler, a powerful southern senator. Daniel and his girlfriend, Stephanie D'Agostino, are the cofounders of CURE, a medical research company, the existence of which relies heavily on biotechnology legislation that Butler is trying to block. However, he has an ulterior motive: he is suffering from Parkinson's disease and wants Daniel to treat him using cloned cells. Daniel and Stephanie are taken aback, since their procedure has yet to get FDA approval, meaning they would have to do the surgery in another country. And they're shocked to learn that Butler wants the cells taken not from a donor but from the infamous Shroud of Turin. He puts Daniel and Stephanie in contact with the unscrupulous doctors at the Wingate Clinic (last seen in Cook's previous novel, Shock 2001) in Nassau. But before they can go to the Wingate to prepare for the procedure, Daniel and Stephanie must go to Turin, to retrieve a piece of the Shroud. Cook is at his best when focusing on fascinating, cutting-edge biotechnology procedures. --Kristine Huntley Copyright 2003 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Cook constructs a promising yet ultimately wearying plot around the issue of therapeutic cloning, picking up where his last novel, Shock, left off. Readers are once again privy to the morally questionable goings on at the Wingate Infertility Clinic in the Bahamas, but its doctors are side players here. Leading the action is former Harvard biotech ace Daniel Lowell, who has formed his own company to investigate a cloning technique in which a patient with an incurable disease is returned to health through the injection of stem cells. In this case the disease is Parkinson's, and the patient is Ashley Butler, a conservative U.S. senator from the South. For political reasons, Butler opposes the legalization of Lowell's technique. Yet Butler-given about a year to live-is willing to switch sides if Lowell agrees to try out the treatment on him first. The kicker is that the fundamentalist Butler wants the stem cells injected into his brain to come from a very specific source: the Shroud of Turin, the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. Cook provides plenty of action as well as polemical asides about the ethics of cloning (he believes politics intrudes far too often into medical and biotech issues), yet readers waiting for a jolt or a revelation will be disappointed. Cook occasionally lets loose the propulsive narrative force that characterizes his best work, but much of the plot is stale and contrived. Readers will have to endure characters who fail to stir emotions (such as a band of corny mobsters), as well as descriptions of Bahamanian resorts that read like paid promotional material. Author tour. (July 14) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

The convergence of two disparate lives drives this compelling story of politics and medicine. Sen. Ashley Butler, a staunch Southern political conservative, and Dr. Daniel Lowell, an entrepreneurial biotech researcher, start on opposing sides of the human cloning issue. The two form an unlikely alliance, however, when the Senator is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and is desperate for the healing that only the doctor's as-yet untested procedure can provide. In return for receiving treatment, Ashley will pull the political strings needed to make Daniel's procedure legal-and profitable. Audie Award-winning narrator George Guidall is excellent in working through much wooden dialog and some underdeveloped characters. While not Cook's best work, the story still chugs along as a highly enjoyable listen. Recommended.-Douglas C. Lord, Connecticut State Lib., Hartford (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

one 6:30 P.M., Wednesday, February 20, 2002 One Year Later It seemed to Daniel Lowell that the taxi had senselessly pulled to a stop mid-block in the center of M Street in Georgetown, Washington D.C., a busy four-lane thoroughfare. Daniel had never liked riding in taxis. It seemed the height of ridiculousness to trust one's life to a total stranger who more often than not hailed from a distant Third World country and frequently was more interested in talking on his cell phone than paying attention to driving. Sitting in the middle of M Street in the darkness with rush-hour traffic whizzing by on both sides and the driver carrying on emotionally in an unknown language was a case in point. Daniel glanced over at Stephanie. She appeared relaxed and smiled at him in the half-light. She gripped his hand affectionately. It was only by leaning forward that Daniel could see there was a traffic light suspended from above to facilitate a rather awkward mid-block left-hand turn. Glancing at the other side of the street, he could see a driveway leading to a nondescript, boxy brick building. "Is this the hotel?" Daniel questioned. "If it is, it doesn't look much like a hotel." "Let's hold our evaluation until we have a little more data," Stephanie responded in a playful tone. The light changed and the taxi leapt forward like a racehorse out of the gate. The driver only had one hand on the steering wheel as he accelerated through the turn. Daniel steadied himself to keep from being thrown against the car door. After a big bounce over the junction of the street and the hotel's driveway, and then another sharp left-hand turn beneath the hotel's porte cochere, the driver braked hard enough to put significant tension on Daniel's seat belt. A moment later, Daniel's door was pulled open. "Welcome to the Four Seasons," a liveried doorman said brightly. "Are you checking in?" Leaving their luggage in the hands of the doorman, Daniel and Stephanie entered the hotel lobby and headed toward the registration desk. They passed a grouping of statuary fit for a modern art museum. The carpet was thick and luxurious. Smartly dressed people lounged in overstuffed velvet chairs. "How did you talk me into staying here?" Daniel questioned rhetorically. "The outside might be plain, but the interior suggests this is going to be expensive." Stephanie pulled Daniel to a halt. "Are you trying to suggest that you've forgotten our conversation yesterday?" "We had a lot of conversations yesterday," Daniel muttered. He noticed the woman who had just walked by carrying a French poodle had a diamond engagement ring the size of a Ping-Pong ball. "You know what I'm talking about!" Stephanie proclaimed. She reached up and turned Daniel's face toward her own. "We decided to make the best of this trip. We're staying in this hotel for two nights, and we're going to indulge ourselves and, I would hope, each other." Catching Stephanie's witty licentiousness, Daniel smiled in spite of himself. "Your testifying tomorrow in front of Senator Butler's Health Policy Subcommittee is not going to be a walk in the park," Stephanie continued. "That's a given. But in spite of what happens there, we're going to at least take the memory of a nice experience back to Cambridge." "Couldn't we have had a nice experience at a slightly less extravagant hotel?" "Not in my book," Stephanie declared. "They have a health club, a masseuse, and top-rated room service, all of which we're going to take advantage of. So start relaxing and unwinding. Besides, I'll pick up the tab." "Really?" "Sure! With the salary I've been pulling down, I should give some back to the company." "Oh, that's a low blow!" Daniel remarked playfully, while pretending to reel from a make-believe slap. "Look," Stephanie said, "I know the company hasn't been exactly able to pay our salaries for a while, but I'm going to see that this whole trip goes on the company charge card. If things go really badly tomorrow which they very well might, bankruptcy court can decide how much the Four Seasons will be paid for our indulgence." Daniel's smile erupted into a full laugh. "Stephanie, you never fail to amaze me!" "You ain't seen nothing yet," Stephanie said with a smile. "The question is: Are you going to let your hair down or what? Even in the taxi, I could tell you were wound up like a piano wire." "That was because I was worried about whether we were going to get here in one piece, not how we were going to pay for it." "Come on, big spender," Stephanie said, urging Daniel forward. "Let's get up to our suite." "Suite?" Daniel questioned, as he allowed himself to be dragged toward the registration desk. Stephanie hadn't exaggerated. Their suite overlooked a part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal with the Potomac River in the background. On the coffee table in the sitting room was a cooler chilling a bottle of champagne. Vases of freshly cut flowers graced the bureau in the bedroom and the expansive countertop in the generous-size marble bathroom. As soon as the bellman disappeared, Stephanie put her arms around Daniel. Her dark eyes stared up into his blue orbs. A slight smile played across her full lips. "I know you are under a lot of stress about tomorrow," she began, "so how about letting me be the tour leader? We both know that Senator Butler's proposed legislation would effectively outlaw your patented and brilliant procedure. And that would mean a cancellation of the second-round financing for the company, with obviously disastrous consequences. With that said and understood, let's forget about it for tonight. Can you do that?" "I can try," Daniel said, although he knew it would be impossible. Failure was one of his worst fears. "That's all I ask," Stephanie said. She gave him a quick kiss before breaking away to attend to the champagne. "Here's the schedule! We have a glass of bubbly, then take refreshing showers. Following that, we have reservations at a nearby restaurant called Citronelle that I hear is fantastic. After a wonderful meal, we come back here and make mad, passionate love. What do you say?" "I'd be crazy to offer any resistance," Daniel said, raising his hands in mock surrender. Stephanie and Daniel had been living together for more than two years and had developed a comfortable familiarity. They had noticed each other back in the mid-eighties, when Daniel had returned to academia and Stephanie was an undergraduate chemistry major at Harvard. Neither acted on their mutual attraction, since such liaisons were specifically frowned upon by university policy. Besides, neither had had the slightest notion that their feelings were reciprocal, at least not until Stephanie had completed her Ph.D. and had joined the junior faculty, giving them an opportunity to interact on more equal footing. Even their respective areas of scientific expertise complemented each other. When Daniel left the university to found his company, it was natural that Stephanie would accompany him. "Not bad at all," Stephanie said, after she drained her flute and put the glass down on the coffee table. "Now! Let's flip to see who gets the shower first." "No need to flip a coin," Daniel said, placing his empty glass next to Stephanie's. "I concede. You first. While you shower, I'll shave." "You've got a deal," Stephanie said. Daniel didn't know if it was the champagne or Stephanie's infectious buoyancy but he felt significantly less tense, although hardly less worried, as he lathered his face and began shaving. Having had only one glass, he suspected it was Stephanie. As she had implied, the morrow might bring disaster, a fear disturbingly reminiscent of Heinrich Wortheim's prophecy the day he'd discovered Daniel was moving back to private industry. But Daniel would try not to allow such thoughts to dominate their visit, at least for that evening. He would try to follow Stephanie's lead and enjoy himself. Looking beyond his lathered image in the mirror, Daniel could see Stephanie's blurred figure through the misted glass-enclosed shower. Her singing voice could be heard over the roar of the water. She was thirty-six but looked more like twenty-six. As he had told her on more than one occasion, she'd done very well in the genetic lottery. Her tall, curvaceous figure was slender and firm as if she worked out regularly even though she didn't, and her dark, olive skin was nearly blemish-free. A mat of thick, lustrous dark hair with matching midnight eyes completed the picture. The shower door opened, and Stephanie stepped out. She briskly dried her hair, totally unconcerned about her nakedness. For a moment, she bent over at the waist, allowing her hair to fall free as she frenetically rubbed it with the towel. Then she stood back upright, flipping her hair back in the process like a horse redirecting its mane. When she switched to drying her back with a provocative wiggle of her hips, her line of sight happened to catch Daniel's stare in the mirror. She stopped. "Hey!" Stephanie exclaimed. "What are you looking at? You're supposed to be shaving." Suddenly self-conscious, she wrapped herself in her towel as if it were a strapless minidress. Initially embarrassed about being caught as a voyeur, Daniel quickly regained his equanimity. He put down his razor and stepped over to Stephanie. He gripped her shoulders and stared into her liquid-onyx eyes. "I just couldn't help but notice how sexy and absolutely alluring you look." Stephanie tilted her head to the side to get a view of Daniel from a slightly different perspective. "Are you all right?" Daniel laughed. "I'm fine." "Did you slip back to the sitting room and polish off that bottle of champagne?" "I'm being serious." "You haven't said anything like that for months." "To say I've been preoccupied would be putting it mildly. When I had the idea of founding the company, I had no idea that fund-raising was going to occupy one hundred and ten percent of my efforts. And now on top of it comes this political menace, threatening to destroy the whole operation." "I understand," Stephanie said. "Truly I do, and I haven't taken it personally." "Has it really been months?" "Trust me," Stephanie said, nodding her head for emphasis. "I apologize," Daniel said. "And to show my remorse, I'd like to make a motion to change the evening's schedule. I propose that we move up the lovemaking and put the dinner plans on hold. Do I hear a second?" As Daniel tried to lean down to give Stephanie a playful kiss, she pushed his still-lathered face back with just the tip of her index finger on his nose. Her expression suggested she was touching something remarkably distasteful, especially as she wiped the bit of lather from her finger onto his shoulder. "Parliamentary rules are not going to maneuver this lady out of a good dinner," she remarked. "It took some effort to get those reservations, so the evening's plans hold as previously voted on and passed. Now back to shaving!" She gave him a spirited shove toward the sink, then stepped to the neighboring sink to dry her hair. "Kidding aside," Daniel yelled over the sound of the hair dryer when he'd finished shaving. "You do look fantastic. Sometimes I wonder what you see in an old man like me." He patted his cheeks with aftershave lotion. "Fifty-two is hardly old," Stephanie yelled back. "Particularly as active as you are. Actually, you're pretty sexy yourself." Daniel regarded himself in the mirror. He thought he didn't look too bad, although he wasn't going to fool himself by imagining he was in any way sexy. Long ago, he'd reconciled himself to the fact that he was on the nerdy side of the equation of life, having grown up as a science prodigy since the sixth grade. Stephanie was just trying to be nice. He'd always had a thin face, so at least there was no problem with developing jowls or even wrinkles, save for some mild crow's feet at the corner of his eyes when he smiled. He'd stayed active physically, although not so much over the previous several months, due to the time constraints of fund-raising. As a faculty member at Harvard, he'd taken full advantage of the athletic facilities, using the squash and handball courts regularly, as well as the rowing opportunities on the Charles River. His only real appearance problem as he saw it was the retreating hairline at the upper corners of his forehead and the thinning area of his crown, plus the salt-and-pepper silvering of his otherwise brown hair along the sides of his head, but there wasn't much he could do about all that. After both of them had finished primping, dressing, and donning their coats, they left the hotel armed with simple directions to the restaurant obtained from the concierge. Arm in arm, they strolled several blocks west along M Street, passing a potpourri of art galleries, bookshops, and antiques stores. The night was crisp but not too cold, with a canopy of stars visible despite the city lights. The maÓtre d' at the restaurant led them to a table off to the side that afforded a degree of privacy in the busy establishment. They ordered food and a bottle of wine, and settled back for a romantic dinner. By the time the entrees had been served and they both had had fun remembering their mutual attraction prior to their ever having dated, they lapsed into a contented silence. Unfortunately Daniel broke it. "I probably shouldn't bring this up . . ." Daniel began. "Then don't," Stephanie interjected, having an immediate inclination of where Daniel was heading. "But I should," Daniel said. "In fact, I have to, and this is a better time than later. Several days ago, you said you were going to research our tormentor, Senator Ashley Butler, with the idea of possibly giving me some help for tomorrow's hearing. I know you looked into it, but you didn't say anything. How come?" "My recollection is that you agreed to forget about the hearing for tonight." "I agreed to try to forget about the hearing," Daniel corrected. "I haven't been totally successful. Did you not bring up what you learned because you didn't find anything helpful or what? Help me here, and then we can put it all aside for the rest of the night." Stephanie looked off for a few beats to organize her thoughts. "What do you want to know?" Daniel let out a short, exasperated laugh. "You're making this more difficult than it needs to be. To be truthful, I don't know what I want to know, because I don't know enough to even ask questions." "He's not going to be easy." "We already had that impression." "He's been in the senate since 1972, and his seniority gives him significant clout." "I'd assumed as much, since he's the chairman of the subcommittee," Daniel said. "What I need to know is what makes him tick." "My impression is he's a rather typical, old-fashioned Southern demagogue." "A demagogue, huh?" Daniel questioned. He chewed the inside of his cheek for a moment. "I suppose I have to admit to my stupidity here. I've heard the word demagogue before, but to tell you the truth, I don't really know exactly what it means other than its pejorative sense." "It refers to a politician who makes use of popular prejudices and fears to gain and hold power." "You mean, in this instance, like the public's concern about biotechnology in general." "Exactly," Stephanie admitted. "Especially when the biotechnology involves words like embryo and cloning. " "Meaning embryo farms and Frankenstein scenarios." "Precisely," Stephanie said. "He plays on people's ignorance and worst fears. And in the Senate, he's an obstructionist. It's always easier to be against issues than for issues. He's made a career of it, even bucking his own party on numerous occasions." "It doesn't sound good for us." Daniel moaned. "It rules out trying to convince him with any kind of rational argument." "Unfortunately, that's my take as well. That's why I haven't told you what I'd learned about him. It's depressing someone like Butler is even in the Senate, much less having the seniority and power he has. Senators are supposed to be leaders, not people who are there for power's sake." "What's depressing is that this dimwit has the power to block my creative and promising science." "I don't have the feeling he's a dimwit," Stephanie corrected. "Quite the contrary. He's been very creative in his own right. I'd even have to say Machiavellian." "What are some of his other issues?" "The usual fundamentalist, conservative ones. States' rights, of course. That's a biggie. But also he's against things like pornography, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and that sort of thing. And, oh yeah, he's against abortion." "Abortion?" Daniel questioned with surprise. "He's a Democrat and not pro-choice? He's starting to sound like a member of the Republican hard right." "I told you he's not afraid of bucking his party when it suits him. He's definitely against abortion, although his stance has required some maneuvering and backpedaling on occasion. In the same way, he's been tap-dancing around civil rights issues. He's a clever, conniving, blue-collar, populist conservative who, unlike Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms, did not bolt the Democratic Party." "Amazing!" Daniel commented. "You'd think people would have eventually seen him for what he really is, self-serving and personally power hungry, and voted him out. Why do you think the party hasn't teamed up against him if he's bucked them on key issues?" "He's just too powerful," Stephanie said. "He's a fund-raising powerhouse with interlocking political action committees, foundations, and even corporations run on behalf of his various populist issues. Other senators are frankly afraid of him with the kind of PR money he can wield. He's not afraid or shy about using his deep pockets against anyone who's crossed him when they come up for reelection." "This is sounding worse and worse," Daniel murmured. "I did learn something curious," Stephanie added. "It's rather a coincidence, but you and he have a few things in common." "Oh, please!" Daniel complained. "For one thing, you're both from large families," Stephanie said. "In fact, you're both from families with nine children, and you both are third in line with two older brothers." "That is a coincidence! What are the chances of that?" "Pretty small. One would have to assume you two are more alike than you think." Daniel's face clouded over. "Are you serious?" Stephanie laughed. "No, of course not! I'm teasing! Loosen up!" She reached across the table, picked up Daniel's wine, and handed it to him. Then she lifted her own glass. "Enough about Senator Butler! Let's toast to our health and our relationship, because whatever happens tomorrow, at least we have that, and what's more important?" "You're right," Daniel said. "To us!" He smiled, but inside he felt his stomach ball up into a knot. Try as he might, he could not dismiss the specter of failure that was looming like a dark cloud. They clicked glasses and drank, eyeing each other over the rims. "You really are alluring," Daniel said, trying to regain the moment back in the bathroom at the hotel when Stephanie had stepped out of the shower. "Beautiful, smart, and very sexy." "That's more like it," Stephanie responded. "So are you." "You're also a teaser," Daniel added. "But I still love you." "I love you, too," Stephanie said. Once the dinner was over, Stephanie was eager to get back to the hotel. They walked quickly. After the warmth of the restaurant, the night chill penetrated their coats. In the hotel's empty elevator, Stephanie kissed Daniel passionately, backed him into a corner, and pressed against him erotically. "Hold on!" Daniel said with a nervous laugh. "There's probably a security video in here." "Oh, my gosh!" Stephanie murmured, as she quickly straightened up and smoothed her coat. Her eyes scanned the elevator's ceiling. "I never thought of that." When the elevator opened on their floor, Stephanie took Daniel's hand and encouraged him to walk quickly down the hall to their door. She smiled as she opened it with her room card. Once inside, she made a production out of locating the DO NOT DISTURB sign and hanging it outside the door. With that accomplished, she took Daniel's hand and pulled him from the small foyer into the bedroom. "Coats off!" she ordered, throwing hers onto a side chair. She then pushed him backward onto the bed. Climbing on top of him with her knees on either side of his chest, she started to loosen his tie. Suddenly, she stopped. She noticed his forehead was glistening with perspiration. "Are you okay?" she questioned with concern. "I'm having a hot flash," Daniel confessed. Stephanie slid off to the side and pulled Daniel up to a sitting position. He wiped his forehead and looked at the moisture in his hand. "You're also pale." "I can imagine," Daniel said. "I think I'm having an autonomic nervous system mini-crisis." "That sounds like medical doctor-speak. Can you explain that in normal English?" "I'm just overwrought. I'm afraid I've had some sort of sympathetic adrenaline rush. I'm sorry, but I don't think sex is in the picture." "You don't have to apologize." "I think I do," Daniel said. "I know you are expecting it, but as we were walking back, I had a feeling it just wasn't in the cards." "It's all right," Stephanie insisted. "It's not going to make or break the evening. I'm more interested in making sure you're going to be all right." Daniel sighed. "I'll be all right after tomorrow, when I know what's going to happen. Uncertainty and I have never gotten along particularly well, especially when it involves something bad." Stephanie put her arms around him and hugged him. She could feel his heart pounding in his chest. Later, after Stephanie had been motionless long enough for her breathing to deepen in sleep, Daniel pulled back the covers and slipped out of bed. He'd not been able to fall asleep with his mind and pulse racing. He put on a hotel robe and wandered out into the sitting room. At the window, he looked out at the view. What kept coming back to his mind was Heinrich Wortheim's prophecy of disaster and the fact that it seemed to be coming to pass. The problem was that Daniel had burned bridges when he left Harvard. Wortheim would never take him back and might even try to blackball him at other institutions. On top of that, Daniel had also burned some bridges when he left Merck in '85 to go back to academia when he'd accepted the Harvard post. The champagne bottle nestled in its cooler caught Daniel's attention. He pulled it out of the water; its ice had long ago melted. He held it up to the light coming from outside the window. There was still almost a half bottle left. He poured himself a glass and tasted it. It was somewhat flat but still reasonably cold. He took a few sips as he redirected his attention out the window. He knew his fear of having to return to Revere Beach, Massachusetts, was irrational, but it didn't make it any less real. Revere Beach was where he'd grown up in a family headed by a small-time businessman who'd blamed his series of failures on his wife and progeny, particularly those who embarrassed him. Unfortunately, that was mostly Daniel, who had the misfortune of following two older brothers who'd been high school superstar athletes, a fact that had provided a modicum of solace for their father's fragile ego. In contrast, Daniel had been a spindly kid more interested in playing chess and producing hydrogen from water, Drano, and aluminum foil in the cellar. The fact that Daniel had gotten himself into Boston Latin, where he excelled academically, had had no effect on his father, who continued to use him mercilessly as a scapegoat. Even Daniel's scholarships to Wesleyan University and then to Columbia Medical School had changed little other than to estrange him from his siblings for a time. Daniel finished the champagne in his glass and helped himself to more. As he continued to sip the wine, his mind wandered to Senator Ashley Butler, his current bÍte noire. Stephanie had said she was teasing when she'd suggested that he and the senator were more alike than he'd assumed. He wondered if she really felt that way, since it was indeed such a coincidence that he and the senator had similar types of families. Way in the back of Daniel's mind, there was a thought that maybe there was some truth to the idea. After all, Daniel had to admit that he envied the power the man could wield in putting Daniel's career in jeopardy. Daniel put his glass down on the coffee table and turned back toward the bedroom. He moved slowly in the darkness of the unfamiliar surroundings. He was far from confident that he could fall asleep while his intuition was so actively telling him that disaster was coming, yet he didn't want to stay up all night. He thought he'd get back in bed and try to relax, and if he couldn't sleep, at least he'd rest. --from Seizure by Robin Cook, copyright © 2003 Robin Cook, published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., all rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher. Excerpted from Seizure by Robin Cook All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.