By Lisa Scottline
Genre: Mystery, thriller, women’s fiction
I’m giving this book a 2.5. I’ve read a few of Scottoline’s books and always enjoyed them. I’ve thought of her as similar to Jodi Picoult, but with more moral characters. This book was a disappointment to me based on her other novels.
Christine had to use a sperm donor to conceive because her husband, Marcus, is sterile. Marcus does not seem comfortable with the fact that they used a donor, although he agreed to it. Christine sees a serial killer being arrested on TV that looks a lot like her donor and freaks out. I really felt hooked in the beginning of the book and felt panicked right along with Christine. Christine and Marcus try to find out if their donor is the serial killer, but due to confidentiality, they’re unable to find out. Marcus decides to sue the clinic to get the information they want, while Christine decides to investigate for herself.
This is where the book takes a ridiculous and “icky” turn, in my opinion. Christine goes right to the jail without telling her husband and asks Zachary, the accused, outright if he’s their sperm donor, making up a fake story about being a reporter. I felt like Christine was opening herself up to huge liability here. What if he found out that she was carrying his biological baby and tried to get custody or later stalked them or even killed her, since he is in prison for murder after all? When you use a donor, you are taking anonymous biological material. As someone who is a huge believer in adoption, I was offended by Christine’s feeling of attachment to Zachary and her constantly saying things like, “his baby is inside of me” and “we’re connected.” She took way too much of a personal interest into his life. In my opinion, the parent is the person who acts like a parent and biology does not make a parent. I didn’t blame Marcus for being so angry with her at the things she did without telling him. Although, there were times when he annoyed me as well by not communicating to Christine. She gets mad at him for not being involved and not acting like a father, but then she gets close to Zachary and basically puts her life on hold for him. Christine ends up finding Zachary a lawyer and then working as a paralegal (for free!) just to try to prove his innocence. On top of that, regardless of how Zachary behaves or the evidence that is put in front of Christine, she hardly ever thinks that he is guilty. She is so quick to make excuses for him. She really started annoying the heck out of me halfway through the book.
When I was able to put aside Christine’s ridiculous motivations, I found myself interested in the investigative process that she took. We follow along as she interviews neighbors, checks out the crime scene, talks to Zachary and his lawyer about her findings, and talks to Zachary’s friends. As I was getting back into the story, the conclusion to the mystery came about in a sudden and highly unlikely way. There was then a twist to the resolution of the book that I liked. I can’t say much more without giving away spoilers.
The more that I read Scottoline’s books, the more I notice she uses some of the same phrases over and over. I think this was even more apparent because I was listening to the audiobook. Every time I heard, “She fed the car gas” and “Christine swallowed hard,” I thought I would scream. This is just a side note.
This book had an interesting premise, but I wish Scottoline had gone in another direction with it. I ended up being annoyed with all of the major characters and some of the unlikely situations. However, there were times when the book was keeping my interest and I did want to find out the ending the whole time. I would not recommend this book to others, but would suggest that they read another one of Scottoline’s books instead.