Cutting-edge DNA database techniques are put to work by a foulmouthed troublemaker in the office of New York City’s chief medical examiner.
Medical thriller pioneer Cook (Pandemic, 2018, etc.) kicked off his Laurie Montgomery/Jack Stapleton series in 1992 with Blindsight. By now—the current book is the 12th in the series—the two autopsy mavens are married and she is New York’s chief medical examiner. They are raising one kid with autism, another with potential ADHD, and Laurie herself may have to have a double mastectomy. But forget all that, because nobody is reading these books for the character development (“It was hopelessly clear to her that she would most likely never get over her aversion to speaking in front of groups, just like she was likely never to get over her fear of authority figures thanks to her emotionally distant and domineering father”) or for the writing (“She could see that sun had cleared the horizon, again bathing that water tower on the neighboring building in golden light. To Laurie it seemed symbolic of having come to a decision”). See, he writes just like a real doctor. On the other hand, the plot is gangbusters. The death of a 10-weeks-pregnant social worker looks like an opioid overdose, but since the woman was not a drug user and there’s no daddy on the scene, something seems a little off. Particularly to the brilliant, misanthropic, sociopathically rude and self-important Dr. Aria Nichols, who’s been sent over from NYU for her pathology residency. The minute she sees the fetus in the uterus they’re dissecting she has an insight. “This wasn’t a sperm donor pregnancy. Some bastard had his way with this woman and then abandons her. I can just feel it. Hell, he might have even supplied the drugs or been the reason she decided to take them.” The technique she employs to track down that sperm donor is similar to that used in the real-life Golden State Killer case and even more like the method memoirist Dani Shapiro used to find her real father, as described in Inheritance.
Cook’s spot in the pantheon of page-turning, bestselling thriller authors who write like Siri is secure.