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New York Times bestselling author Robin Cook takes on the ripped-from-the-headlines topic of using DNA tracking to catch a killer in Genesis, an unforgettable medical thriller.
When the body of social worker Kera Jacobsen shows up on Chief Medical Examiner Laurie Montgomery’s autopsy table, it appears at first that she was the victim of a tragic drug overdose. But for Laurie and her new pathology resident, the brilliant but outspoken Dr. Aria Nichols, further investigation reveals an alarming discovery. The young woman was ten weeks pregnant when she died, but nobody seems to know who the father was – or whether he holds the key to Kera’s final moments alive.
While Laurie faces a personal crisis with the support of her husband, forensic pathologist Jack Stapleton, the impulsive Aria investigates a controversial new technique to progress the case: using DNA databases to track down those who don’t want to be found. Working with experts at a genealogy website based in New York, she plans to trace the foetus’s DNA in the hopes of identifying the mystery father.
After Kera’s closest friend is found murdered days later, the need for answers becomes critical. Because someone out
there clearly doesn’t want Kera’s secrets to come to light . . . and if Aria gets any closer to the truth, she and Laurie face becoming targets for a ruthless killer.
The sleuthing overshadows the mystery in bestseller Cook's routine 11th medical thriller featuring Laurie Montgomery (after 2018's Pandemic). Montgomery, New York City's chief medical examiner, has her usual full plate at work and at home: her office is under fire for a screwup involving cadavers with identical names; and her nine-year-old son is having trouble at school. In addition, a brilliant but difficult pathology resident, Aria Nichols, has been blowing off her residency. A sensitive case gives Montgomery the opportunity to work with Nichols. Social worker Kera Jacobsen has apparently died of an opioid overdose, and Jacobsen's boss at the city's Department of Pathology is hoping the autopsy can be handled discreetly. The discovery that Jacobsen was pregnant leads Nichols to pursue the father's identity, using unconventional genetic testing to do so. By opening with a depiction of a married man drugging Jacobsen, Cook eliminates any doubt of foul play, and fans will regret Montgomery's taking a back seat to Nichols for much of the book. Innovative forensic science isn't enough to sustain interest.