Perfect People

Peter James

Peter James is one of Britain's best crime writers.

 

Genetically modified babies are born and the next step in evolution is made. Mankind is facing its greatest challenge: obsolescence.

 

John and Naomi are grieving the death of their four-year-old son from a rare genetic disorder. They desperately want another child, but they realize the odds of their next child contracting the same disease are high.Then they hear about geneticist Dr Leo Dettore. He has methods that can spare them the heartache of ever losing another child to any disease.At his clinic is where their nightmare begins.

They should have realized 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 . 

I hold my hands up; I am a true Peter James fan and in particular am partial to a bit of Roy Grace! For those not aware of Mr James or indeed my lovely hero Mr Grace, start paying attention! Peter James has been writing for many years and his most recent and very popular series of books features Superintendant Roy Grace. Although many of Peter's fans may prefer the Grace novels, he has been writing stand alone novels since the very early eighties. His latest release entitles Perfect People is quite possibly the perfect book.

When I read the back of the book, and realised that the story dealt with a couple who would follow the path of genetically modifying their child, I worried. What was Peter James thinking? Why on earth would a brilliant author like him want to write about such a controversial subject that could possibly go belly up? Well, having finished the book I can tell you there must have been blood, sweat and tears from him to produce such a fine book, clearly he worked hard to achieve the perfect balance and it resulted in just that! The book is as usual a good example of how skilled Peter James is as a writer and within the first few chapters I was completely absorbed. The two main characters were a couple; John and Naomi, and all they want is a child that will not be born with the same disease their last little boy had died from. Having lost their little boy, this normal couple decide to put their faith into the hands of geneticist Dr Leo Dettore. Right from the beginning I couldn't stand Dr Dettore but as the story progresses and you see the couple follow the procedures to choose what they do and don't want their future child to have, you can understand with how badly they want this. I could even understand how they put Dr Dettore's scientific brilliance before his less than appealing personality. I was slightly concerned that I would be baffled with too much of the science side of things but thankfully, everything you read and the way it was written made it easy by anybody's standards to understand the basics. The story itself picks up pace as major events happen in the first quarter of the book. I worried we had seen too much too soon, until you realise that the main event is lurking around the corner. I shocked myself at just how badly I had to keep reading this. Each time I think things are settling, something else shocks me and once again I feel that I just can't put it down.

Before I started reading, I was very specific about my feelings on messing with genetics, and I can truly say that by the end of the book it made me re-think my opinions. The subject matter is certainly different, but the issue itself is dealt and in such a way that you empathise with the people making the decisions and the eventual outcome. It is very difficult for me to expand on this review as should I do that certain spoilers will ruin it for people. What I will say is that the only reason I actually brought this was because I am a Roy Grace fan. Had the book been written by somebody else, I may have given it a wide berth. I am extremely glad that I didn't do that as this book opened my eyes. The writing was brilliant, the tension high and the underlying `horrible feeling' I had didn't leave me all through the book.

For me one of the main underlying thoughts I had all through the books is that one day, this could actually happen. What would I do if I was in their shoes? Decisions that I previously thought would be easy to make, have now left me feeling like I didn't have the first clue. I can honestly say that this book truly took me by surprise. Touching on subjects that I had no interest or real in depth knowledge of yet had me staying up way past my bed time as I had to finish. If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to go and buy this book, no matter what you think of the synopsis. This is normally not the sort of book that I would read, but am truly grateful I did.

Review by Katherine Everett, Best Crime Books

About Peter James:

Peter James has been a screenwriter and film producer, and is now the author of best selling crime novels. Often featuring the Brighton-based Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. His books have been translated into 29 languages. In England they are published by Pan Books and in the US by Carroll & Graf Publishers.

Peter is a former Chair of the Crime Writers Association.