This is a bit of a departure for Peter James, who has been concentrating on Roy Grace and his “Dead” books for some years. However, he did write a series of other one off books before he started the “Dead” books, which are also worth trying.
This story is pretty straightforward – a couple whose son died tragically young from a genetic disorder go to a doctor who, for a hefty fee, can alter the genetic makeup of their unborn child to make sure it is free from genetic diseases. Pretty much a no brainer eh?
As you would expect things start to happen from the beginning with the parents facing difficult choices around what of their child’s genetic makeup they should change being just the first. Without giving too much away, things don’t turn out as they should and as the parents try to deal with plans that have just gone plain wrong, there is a sub plot of underlying menace and tension from the inevitable loony/stalker type [what would crime writers do without them?].
As always, James’ meticulous research is threaded through the book, not just in terms of technical detail, but how it translates into the choices and conflicts the characters have to deal with. For parents amongst readers, there are times when your heart goes out to the characters, empathising strongly with their choices and the way they have to deal with the problems they face. The twist at the end will make some of you cry – I say no more.