The baby business is booming. Billions of dollars are spent each year on strollers, cribs, and clothing, not to mention assisted reproduction and adoption. With fertility rates dropping precipitously in the US and babies becoming ever more valuable as a combination of status symbol and perfect accessory, there's clearly a developing market for someone like Tom Starbird. Tom is The Baby Merchant
--though he'd never think of himself in such terms. In his mind, Tom creates perfect families by matching famous couples with prime--but neglected--newborns. Tom's a master of surveillance and secret "pickups". His small staff is extremely well-paid, especially the doctor who implants the government-required tracking chip into each infant's developing skull.
Sasha Egan is a talented artist feeling trapped by an accidental pregnancy. Determined to place her child with a loving family, Sasha is jolted by the arrival, at her chosen home for unwed mothers, of the unborn baby's father. Behind Gary's insincere protestations of love, Sasha detects the hand of her powerful, wealthy grandmother. Nearly nine months pregnant, Sasha disappears, going to ground at a seedy motel.
Jake Zorn is a crusading TV journalist who has broken some of the biggest scandals of the day. His life is perfect--except that he and his rainmaker attorney wife, Maury, cannot have children. They've tried everything; repeated miscarriages drove Maury to a terrible act that makes adoption agencies turn them away.
Tom Starbird is Jake's last chance, but it's too late--Tom wants out of the baby business. Jake Zorn knows more than a few hard truths about Tom Starbird, and he's not afraid to expose them to the nation.
Desperate to find a baby for the Zorns, Tom Starbird settles on Sasha Egan as the perfect supplier.
Soon Sasha's baby will be born. And many lives will be forever altered.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Set in an all-too-plausible future world with a falling birth rate, closed borders and lengthy adoption waiting lists, Reed's provocative SF novel explores the lengths desperate people will go to become parents. Jake Zorn and Maury Bayless, a childless couple in their 40s, approach Tom Starbird, a go-to man for high-end illicit "adoptions," but Jake, a newsman, isn't satisfied to just do business. If Starbird doesn't get them a baby, Jake threatens to not only ruin Starbird but also broadcast a shattering expos about Starbird's mother, an unstable poet. Starbird, forced to agree, marks the baby of a pregnant artist, Sasha Egan, who lives in a home for unwed mothers. But Sasha flees the home and lays low, forcing Starbird to revise his plans. The inevitable clash among Sasha, Starbird and Jake forces each to rethink his or her motives. Reed (Thinner Than Thou ) succeeds in making her nastier characters appear more misguided than evil, but the long sections from the protagonists' different points-of-view, all written in the same style, tend to blur together.