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 Cooks first science- fiction work, Invasion, have been television movies.