Book Corner: Living Proof by Kira Peikoff
Reviewed by Matt Keleher
“Even though each month it happened the same way – the creak, the alarm, the snapshot – Arianna still felt jolted. She felt even worse for the patients who happened to be in the waiting room when a man with a gun swaggered in. But DEP inspectors, as Arianna would explain, had magnetic passes that let them swipe into any fertility clinic whenever they wanted, which set the alarm of every time.”
Living Proof- Peikoff’s debut thriller transports the reader to a dystopian near future wherein the religious right’s ‘pro-life’ argument has been taken to its logical conclusion; embryos have the same rights as citizens – the destruction of an embryo carries a charge of first degree murder. Fertility clinics must store embryos indefinitely and are subject to increasingly stifling regulation and inspection by the draconian, religiously-motivated DEP (Department of Embryo Preservation).
Promising young doctor Arianna Drake is a skilled practitioner at a private clinic in Manhattan, but fearful of the DEP in spite of her exemplary record. The suspicions of DEP chief Gideon Dopp are aroused after he notices a sharp growth in the popularity of Drake’s clinic.
After he discovers Arianna’s past link to a controversial scientist and opponent of the embryo legislation, Dopp sends his protégé Trent Rowe undercover to get the dirt on Arianna under the ruse of romance.
As Trent immerses himself deeper in her world he discovers a shocking truth and finds his loyalties tested, while Dopp’s machinations threaten to put Arianna’s life in jeopardy…
Peikoff’s terse, economic prose makes for a pacey thriller, though she possesses a talent for selecting the necessary details to give nuance to her characters without compromising the drama. This helps place Living Proof a cut above many of its competitors; it is an intelligent thriller filled with genuine intrigue and human drama and one that I am happy to recommend to any fans of the genre.