St. Martin's, Dec 2002, 27.95, 416 pp.
In California, Dr. Kevin Kincaid accompanied by his wife Helen and their twin children visit his Uncle Dermot, an eccentric scientist. Dermot asks Kevin to work with him on a special DNA project. Before the nephew can understand what is being offered, he receives an emergency call from the San Francisco hospital he practices medicine in. When he returns to his uncle's estate, he sees fire trucks and other emergency vehicles. Worse he sees two children baby bags as his twins and his uncle died in a fire and though her body was not found so had his spouse.
A decade later, Kevin is the leading researcher into "GermLine" gene therapy and he is close to a major breakthrough after years of experiment and failure. He believes he now has the needed vector to enable the introduction of new genes into the germ cells of an unborn that will eliminate genetic disease. However, different groups compete to control who benefits from Kincaid's findings or want the research ended. All the rivals are ruthless and willing to kill to achieve their objective.
This cerebral medical thriller is so cutting edge, the story line reads more like a complex intellectual science fiction. The plot requires deep concentration to understand the nuances of germline DNA research, but author Dr. Nelson Erlick cleverly interweaves explanations inside the plot, i.e., news conference. Though the latter half of the novel turns into more of an action conspiracy thriller as competitors skirmish over control, fans of a sharp future state of the art tale will want to peruse this keen novel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner