John and Naomi Klaesson are grieving the death of their four-year-old son from a rare genetic disorder. They desperately want another child, but when they find out they are both carriers of a rogue gene, they realize the odds of their next child contracting the disease are high.
Then they hear about geneticist Doctor Leo Dettore. He has methods that can spare them the heartache of ever losing another child to any disease - even if his methods cost more than they can afford.
His clinic is where their nightmare begins.
They should have realized that something was wrong when they saw the list. Choices of eye colour, hair, sporting abilities. They can literally design their child. Now it's too late to turn back. Naomi is pregnant, and already something is badly wrong.
Reviewed on 8th November 2014
This is the first book by Peter James I've read outside of his Roy Grace series of detective novels, and I wasn't sure what to expect. It's the tale of a couple who find they are both carriers of a genetic disease, and their attempt to have a child that doesn't inherit those genes. It's an exploration of the concept of designer babies, and looks at some of the possible things that would arise.
It's one of the most interesting novels I've read in a while, despite really being more within the thriller genre that crime, and one of the few recently that I've found I wanted to keep reading when I got home in the evening rather than reserve just for my train journeys. The short chapters that James uses make for a very fast feeling plot and really keep the reader engaged.
There are some disturbing scenes - but I've come to expect that from a Peter James novel, and actually I'd predicted that something like that would be coming up, but it's still a bit shocking when it comes. I'm not really sure how the plot makes me feel over all, and I'm not sure either quite what moral the author was planning to put across, if indeed any - if the book was intended to change or challenge my own views on genetics though I'm afraid it didn't feel believable enough for that.
A very enjoyable, if dark, and interesting read throughout, which I'm glad I read. I'm still nervous though about picking up any more of Peter James' novels if they're going to be as intense as this.