Review Blog

Dec 30 2019

Genesis by Robin Cook

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Macmillan 2019. ISBN: 9781529019124.
(Age: senior secondary/adult) Recommended. Robin Cook has set his sights once again firmly in the medical world. Laurie Montgomery-Stapleton is Chief Medical Examiner in New York and her husband Jack is one of the medical examiners who works for her. We enter the world of autopsies and forensic investigation.
A seemingly routine drug overdose throws up some anomalies, which pathology resident Aria Nichols is eager to solve. Dr. Nichols is intelligent, quick, decisive but shows no empathy or courtesy with co-workers or the general public. Perhaps it's as well she is working with the dead.
The body count begins to rise but the dots are not joined, especially when the first victim is not considered to have been murdered by anyone other than Aria. It is when she meets with the victim's friend that using ancestral DNA becomes a possibility in finding the killer. She has concluded with no evidence that the killer is a married man who has been secretly having an affair with the victim. The possibility of murder becomes firmer when the friend is pushed into the path of a subway train.
This escalation continues when medical examiners are confronted with the body of Aria Nichols in the morgue. Her death is in every way similar to that of the first victim. Dots begin to be joined, but the killer is eliminating those with any knowledge, and the final victim could be Dr Laurie Montgomery-Stapleton.
The most interesting elements of Cook's narrative are the descriptions of autopsies and their procedures. The characters are fairly standard with some being stereotypical, even the brash abrasive Aria is just a shell and Cook doesn't delve deeply into anyone's psyche. There is a need to confirm thoughts about who "dunnit", but the most interesting aspects are DNA ancestral histories and the uses to which they may be used, never envisaged by the developers.
Themes: Crime, Medical procedure, Autopsies, Mortuary procedure, Police, DNA.
Mark Knight

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