disclosure – i received an e-galley of this novel from st. martin’s press in exchange for an honest review.
what if you could ensure that your child would never get sick? not just never get a cold or croup, never get asthma. never get diabetes. never get cancer. would you do it? what if along with that you could ensure s/he would reach a societal “norm” in height and weight. be good at sports? get by on only a few hours of sleep each night and thus be that much more productive in studies and employment? would you do it?
in perfect people by peter james, parents john & naomi klaesson have lost their son to a painful and mystifying disease. if only one of them had been carrying the gene for it, their son would have been fine; but it turns out they both were carrying it, and their son died a horrifying death as a result. years later, wanting another child but absolutely desperate to ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen again, they turn to dr. leo dettore for help. he can, for a price, guide them through selecting the perfect genetic blueprint for their new son. weed out the disease, ensure some good traits. for a price.
with this novel, peter james has written more than just a medical thriller. along with the question of how far should science go with the knowledge it gains, it presents the question of how far a parent should go to ensure the best for their child. and how does a parent know, positively know, that what they’re doing is actually for their children and not to assuage their own guilt or fulfill their own needs.
there are a few unanswered questions in perfect people; noting them here would provide major spoilers so i’ll avoid the details. more importantly, although i noticed the holes and had a brief thought flash of, “yeah but wait…”, it didn’t make a difference in my overall enjoyment of the story.
perfect people is a fast-paced, well written, and most importantly, accessible medical thriller. nothing is dumbed down but nothing is above anyone’s head, either, and that’s a very tough line to walk.