Lewis and Lindsay Thorpe were the perfect couple: young, attractive, and ideally matched. But the veil of perfection can mask many blemishes. When the Thorpes are found dead in their tasteful Flagstaff living room (having committed double suicide), alarms go off in the towering Manhattan offices of Eden Incorporated, the high-tech matchmaking company whose spectacular success, and legendary secrecy, has inspired awe around the world. The Thorpes, few people knew, were more than the quintessential happy couple – they were Eden’s first perfect match.
A short time later, Christopher Lash, a gifted former FBI forensic psychologist, receives an urgent plea from Eden to perform a quick – and quiet – investigation into the deaths. Lash’s psychological autopsy reveals nothing suspicious, but inadvertently dredges up the memories of a searing personal tragedy he has kept at bay for years.
The situation changes suddenly when a second Eden couple is found dead -- by all appearances, another double suicide. Now Eden – particularly Richard Silver, the company’s brilliant and reclusive founder – has no choice but to grant Lash unprecedented access to its most guarded secrets if he is to have any chance of determining what is going wrong. The hidden world he discovers is a stunning labyrinth of artificial intelligence, creative genius, and a melding of technology that does indeed, to Lash’s surprise, deliver on Eden’s promise to its clients: the guarantee of a perfect, lifelong mate. But Lash’s involvement in the investigation becomes more personal and dangerous than he could have imagined, nearly as soon as it begins.
With tremendous imagination and skill, master thriller-writer Lincoln Child renders a setting too frighteningly believable not to be real. Infused with relentless suspense and a riveting pace, DEATH MATCH is Child at his best.
A starred or boxed review indicates a book of outstanding quality. A review with a blue-tinted title indicates a book of unusual commercial interest that hasn't received a starred or boxed review.DEATH MATCHLincoln Child. Doubleday, (400p) Child's work as both solo author (Utopia) and with Douglas Preston (Relic; Still Life with Crows; etc.) always features concepts so high they threaten readers with nosebleeds. Eden, a computerized matchmaking corporation, promises clients who pay a $25,000 fee and pass strict psychological and physical testing that they will receive not just a date but a perfect romantic match, a soul mate with a lifetime money back guarantee. All of the couples brought together are blissfully happy; in the company's history no one has ever asked for a refund. The moving force behind Eden is a supercomputer named Liza and her designer, the brilliant, reclusive Richard Silver. Liza compares one million variables in its process, and those candidates with a 95% match rate are declared ideal mates. Six couples out of the 624,000 people who have gone through the program have had all million variables perfectly aligned, creating what Eden calls "Supercouples." But one of the supercouples has inexplicably committed double suicide. Dr. Christopher Lash, a psychologist specializing in marital relationships, is called in to discover what has gone horribly wrong. Within a week, a second supercouple have also killed themselves. Lash works with security technician Tara Stapleton to investigate some of the individuals rejected by Eden. At the end of the book Lash is in serious trouble, and the entire Eden house of cards is beginning to collapse. As in all of Child's work, there is plenty of interesting cutting-edge science and, in this case, psychiatric and computer lore. Most thriller veterans will know from almost the beginning who is behind the suicides of the supercouples, but putting it all together makes for an entertaining read. Forecast:An intriguing premise, lots of fascinating science, a broad fan base and excellent film prospects add up to happy sales.