It’s not every day that a world famous novelist invites you over to his gazillion-dollar palatial penthouse to check out the view. But on those rare occasions when it does happen, you should jump at the opportunity.
Such was my luck recently while chatting with Dr. Robin Cook, Naples resident and author of such best-sellers as Coma, Outbreak and Contagion. (His latest thriller, Death Benefits, is in bookstores now.) I had called him to learn more about the building he lives in, the super exclusive Enclave, for an upcoming feature in Gulfshore Life, when he offered to have me over and check out the place. Nothing can really prepare you for entering a home perched some 300-feet above the beach and that is wall-to-wall white marble, white walls, white furniture, white curtains and filled with white Greek statues. Nothing. While “surreal” might be over selling it (slightly), from a decorating standpoint, it’s as if the Parthenon had gone co-op. (Note to self: check off “visit Parthenon” from my bucket list.)
Regardless, Dr. Cook (he’s a licensed ophthalmologist—though there was nary an eye chart to be seen) was a gracious host, introducing me to his wife, Jean, and son, Cameron, even offering me food and beverage. “Are you sure I can’t offer you a piece of what is probably the best coffee cake you’ll ever taste in your life?,” said Cook, while pouring me a glass of filtered water. Now, what kind of human being would I be to turn down coffee cake? (While that was rhetorical, the answer is uncivilized.) Long story short (kind of), he got me hooked on what was, literally, the best coffee cake I had ever had in my entire life. So good, in fact, that I actually asked him where he bought it. “My wife made it,” he said, fully understanding the value of how lucky he is to have a wife who makes such spectacular desserts. It’s not enough that he has sold over 100 million books, made a fortune in real estate, has homes and businesses scattered all over the place AND was once an aquanaut (look it up). Nope, he also has the only access to the best coffee cake on the planet. Oh well, sometimes life isn’t fair. I’m sure with a little luck and some elbow grease I could become a best-selling underwater ophthalmologist.
But I digress. As we sat there, eating the best coffee cake ever, facing a life-sized Venus de Milo and overlooking the Gulf of Mexico as a distinct swath of red tide worked its way southward directly below us, we talked about the things writers talk about: cars and houses and food poisoning (he had gotten some bad duck in Boston). And before I could ask “Is that a bust of Socrates?,” he showed me the coolest feature of the residence: the rooftop patio. It’s the highest spot in Naples and gave me yet another opportunity to look down on everyone within a 30-mile radius. The place be a rockin’ bachelor pad. You know, if you were into chicks from the Hellenistic period. But seriously, about that coffee cake…