By: Larry Karp
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publishing Date: December 2011
Reviewed by: Mary Lignor
Review Date: December 6, 2011
It is the year 1977 and Dr. Colin Sanford is on his way into his office in the Emerald Medical Tower in Emerald, Washington. Dr. Sanford is the most brilliant obstetrician who practices in the Pacific Northwest. After attending a lecture at the Washington Public University Medical Complex he meets Dr. Giselle Hearn, who runs a embryology lab at the University. The two doctors put their heads together and come up with a plan to produce a baby using invitro fertilization. The University is rather conservative and is against this so Dr. Hearn agrees to work with Dr. Sanford on the sly, working secretly to accomplish the feat of bringing the first invitro baby into the world. The very arrogant Dr. Sanford wants his name in the medical history books and will step on anyone who gets in his way on his quest for fame and fortune.
Subsequently, the two come up with a couple who have been trying to have a baby without results and Dr. Sanford, who has an excellent practice and also a great bedside manner, talks the Kennetts (Joyce and James) into trying this method in order to end up with a beautiful child. The invitro works and a healthy boy is born to the Kennetts. These are happy times in the offices of Dr. Sanford, and one day he is coming into work getting ready to attend a press conference in which he will announce that he and Dr. Hearn have 'created' the very first invitro baby; they will introduce this child and his parents to the masses. Dr. Sanford is counting the money and patients he will receive for this accomplishment. (Of course, he intends to give Dr. Hearn a little credit.) When he enters his office he finds everyone looking like gloom and doom and is told that James Kennett went to see Dr. Hearn, and went into an uncontrolled rage, shooting Dr. Hearn and himself.
Police Detective Bernie Baumgartner of the Emerald Police Department is sent out on the case and stubbornly looks for the answers. His boss at the department and the powers at the University are exerting pressure on him to declare the case closed, placing the blame on a mentally unstable individual. But this detective, to the detriment of his marriage and his job, is like a dog with a bone: he will not give up no matter who he goes after. A game is played between the detective and the doctor, both of whom think he is the best of the best, a game that plays out over these pages with a surprise in every chapter.
Quill says: Don't miss this one — A Perilous Conception is a definite keeper. Author Larry Karp does a fantastic job with these two main characters. You love them one minute and hate them the next.