A potentially fatal disease, a tantalizing romance and international terrorism converge with explosive consequences in this medical thriller.

Fiction - Mystery - General
452 Pages
Reviewed on 04/22/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Cluster by Robert J. McCunney skillfully blends mystery, budding romance, and the ominous threat of terrorism. When Dr. Dan Murphy's healthy 28-year-old brother mysteriously develops a rare blood disease, Dan embarks on a quest to find answers. He meets the spirited journalist, Anna Carlson, who is pursuing a degree in public health. They share the same interests and begin to collaborate on the research into the disease. Their professional collaboration blossoms into romance while their research becomes complicated as they discover similar cases in the local community. Meanwhile, embittered ex-British Intelligence Officer Parker Barrows — scarred by tragedy and consumed by vengeance — hatches sinister plans to sabotage the Brexit negotiations. His schemes threaten Dan and Anna's investigation as well. Can they outmaneuver this nefarious revenge plot?

Robert J. McCunney excels at crafting multidimensional characters, effortlessly interweaving their personal and professional lives. Readers will sympathize with Barrows for his loss in a terrorist attack, but they will also hate his desire for revenge. Mystery elements cleverly propel the plot forward as Dan and Anna's research intensifies. Readers will be keen to find out what happens next in the story as they move from one compelling page to the next. The strong plot elements are spiced up by the growing romance between Dan and Anna. McCunney's superb writing and nuanced character development shine through snappy dialogue and rare psychological insight into the characters. The relatable, memorable characters and the medical thriller theme ensure an engaging read. Cluster features gorgeous writing, superior storytelling, and an intriguing plot. The story is balanced, fast-paced, and suspenseful.

K.C. Finn

Cluster is a work of fiction penned by author Robert J. McCunney in the mystery, interpersonal drama, and romantic medical thriller subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience. Readers are introduced to a gripping medical thriller where a rare blood disease, a burgeoning romance, and international terrorism collide. Dr. Dan Murphy's personal and professional worlds are entangled when his brother falls victim to a mysterious blood ailment. As Dan and journalist Anna Carlson embark on an investigation, they uncover a sinister plot that stretches beyond the medical realm. Meanwhile, former intelligence officer Parker Barrows hatches a sinister plot to interfere with British, Irish, and European politics to exact a bitter vengeance of his own.

Author Robert J. McCunney has crafted an engaging thriller that successfully navigates the complexities of environmental medicine and international intrigue, creating a narrative that is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally engaging. The romance between Dan and Anna adds a human touch to the medical and political drama, providing depth to the characters through some deeply engaging dialogue and close attention to detail in speech and thought presentation. The parallel storyline involving Parker Barrows introduces a layer of dark suspense, intertwining personal vendettas with global consequences alongside twisting plot events that move with great pacing to keep things interesting. McCunney's narrative flair, coupled with meticulous research, makes for an engrossing page-turner but also a thought-provoking exploration of health, love, and the repercussions of political machinations. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend Cluster to fans of deeply involved dramas and accomplished thriller mysteries everywhere.

Bernadette Longu

In Cluster by Robert J McCunney, Dr. Dan Murphy wants to know why his otherwise healthy brother has a rare blood disease. He meets Anna Carlson, a journalist also on the trail of this disease that has appeared in two other men. Their relationship soon develops into something deeper. However, a disgruntled former British intelligence officer, Parker Barrows has a deep grudge against the government after losing his wife and a limb to an IRA explosion. He has sinister intentions of disrupting the crucial Brexit talks. Dan's and Anna's paths converge with Parker's plans in a dramatic conclusion.

Cluster by Robert J McCunney combines romance, a medical mystery, and terrorism in a suspenseful, well-written story. The author pulls the reader in from the very first paragraph to the very last page and holds their attention in a wonderful way as this story unfolds. At times readers will be sitting on the edge of their seats and, at others, crying and laughing with the main characters and the events that transpire. Robert J McCunney has highlighted in Cluster how cruel humans can be to each other, and how vengeance and revenge can take over a person’s life to the point of insanity. Greed and self-gratification can lead people to do the most unspeakable things to each other without realizing or refusing to accept the fact that what they are doing for self-gratification has a ripple effect involving innocent people dying. This is a book to be read on a cold winter weekend when nobody is going anywhere but staying home. It will keep the reader riveted to the pages until the very unusual ending. Thank you to the author for a very enjoyable read.