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Robin Cook / Author Putnam $21.95 (445p) ISBN 978-0-399-13771-

Good news: Cook ( Coma ; Blindsight ) lures us into his newest medical thriller easily and sustains our interest until the very end, despite lots of medispeak. Bad news: the characters are one-note players. Boston Irish ``townie'' Sean Murphy blazes through Harvard and Harvard Medical School, then leaps at the chance to spend part of his internship at a Miami clinic with a 100% remission rate for a particular type of cancer. He also wants to avoid making any commitment to beautiful nurse Janet Reardon, a Boston blueblood. But he's barred from the top-security cancer research lab, and then Janet arrives to work at the clinic, too--she's ``aloof and untouchable'' but not above chasing Sean, the dashing ``Black Irish'' with ``Mediterranean'' features. Dodging a suspicious security chief, an imperious clinic exec and a spying Japanese researcher, Sean and Janet gamely decide to ``look into this medulloblastoma business.'' After the predictable chasing around south Florida, Sean holds the clinic head and his bikini-clad wife hostage in a research lab surrounded by cops while conducting experiments to prove that the clinic is involved in a dastardly plot to fake research results. At one point Sean and Janet are trailed by the security chief, two clinic hirelings, three Japanese would-be kidnappers and a psychopath who kills women suffering from breast cancer. As Sean says, ``This is worse than Stephen King.'' Literary Guild main selection. (Jan.)