Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Review: Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline

Can you imagine the thing you want most in the world could potentially turn into a psycho killer based on their genetic makeup? Christine Nilsson doesn't have to imagine but she does have to investigate. After seeing the capture of a serial killer dubbed the "Nurse Murderer", Christine's picturesque idea of finally having the baby and family she's most wanted, could simply become a nightmare. 

Christine and Markus Nilsson are unable to conceive children and enlist the help of fertility specialist who decide the plan of action would be to use a sperm donor. Christine and Markus pour over hundreds of potential male donors when one remarkably handsome face beckons her um... egg to... um... you know. They picked this sperm donor based on his similarities to their own genetic makeups. Blond, blue eyed, medical student, all the bells and whistles really one would look for in a donor. After successfully conceiving, Christine is not far along in her pregnancy when a random news bit draws her attention and forces her to track down her sperm donor who is the spitting image of a crazed serial killer that could quite possibly be guilty.

Against her better judgment and the advice of her husband, she seeks to find the truth. What begins as a potential debate of whether our DNA matters so much turns into a quest for the truth. The truth of who really killed the nurses and who her "baby daddy" really is.

Most Wanted is instantly catching. Most of Lisa Scottoline novels are. I sat back and looked forward to enjoying the ride of what I thought would be a sparring match between Nature vs Nurture. To my (somewhat) disappointment, that was not the case here. Although I was thoroughly entertained by this novel 50% in, I was kinda taken aback when it turned more into a mystery novel then the "chick-lit" I was hoping for. 

I know, I know... you don't have remind me that the book blurb does suggest suspense, as much of Scottoline's novels fall under that category, I was still hoping for a suspenseful court battle or more legalese speak in her other novels featuring the female legal team Rosato and DiNunzio. Instead what seemed like a potential good discussion on the hot topics touched upon in Most Wanted fell flat once Christine turned into an amateur sleuth. The hot topics that were grazed lightly is the whole fertility process and it's toll on marriage, the debate that no amount of nurturing can change the narcissistic gene bestowed on our genetic makeup, or even that fertility is big business that should have more standards. Simply making sure there are no abnormalities such as Down's Syndrome, blood conditions, or histories of cancer aren't enough when screening potential egg or sperm donors. I wanted more of this.

Instead I got a thrilling mystery that for all intents and purposes was good. The actual killer was nowhere on my radar. My gripe is simply that the thrilling conclusion was thrown in simply so Scottoline's core audience would be able to say they didn't see that coming. Essentially for me, there was no tension. Sure, I fought with the idea of Jeff Turncoat being the killer or not as Christine's investigation gave more red flags... that weren't quite red flags because Christine said so. Sure she has to believe the father of her unborn child is an angel so she can rest assure her soon-to-be angel won't whack her and her husband's heads off as they sleep in their beds. But... there was no suspense in this regard, just plain old information.

Above all, I'm a fan of Lisa Scottoline and I did enjoy Most Wanted. It's a cautionary tale to anyone who intends to conceive with a stranger. I just wish the story had more depth and didn't turn into a cat and mouse game. The end was bizarre and thrilling yet too cliche for me. Essentially, Scottoline's latest is a good read. It doesn't deter me from reading more of her novels. I just simply know that it's not the most wanted outcome for a novel I invested so much time in.  ***

Copy provided by St Martin's Press via Netgalley

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