FERTILE GROUND by Rochelle Krich

FERTILE GROUND

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Murder is the least of the chicanery at an L.A. fertility clinic in this tautly-moving tale. Even before her fiancÇ disappears, Dr. Lisa Brockman has bad feelings about the death of Chelsea Wright. The waitress had taken $2500 to serve as an anonymous egg donor to Lisa's Westwood clinic in order to tide herself over until she could start earning money as a teacher. Now that she's dead, though, she may cost the clinic thousands of times that amount. Someone has started a rumor that instead of implanting infertile women with their own fertilized eggs, the clinic has been switching eggs, leaving its clients pregnant with the children of strangers. The most devastating accusation--that Orthodox Jewish client Naomi Hoffman's eggs, so conscientiously shepherded at every step of the implantation process by a shomer tasked with insuring that her baby will be her own, are really Chelsea's--is turning out, despite all apparent evidence to the contrary, to be the hardest to disprove. Now Naomi and her husband, a rabbinic student, are going bonkers; Chelsea's grieving parents are preparing to sue for custody of the baby they're convinced is their grandchild; reporters across town have emblazoned the clinic on their Rolodexes; and it's all falling to Lisa to sort out, because the clinic director, her fiancÇ Dr. Matthew Gordon, has taken a powder--or been murdered to keep his mouth shut. Suddenly, Lisa finds her life (literally) threatened and (figuratively) falling apart. Beginning with a guided tour of current research on infertility problems and solutions, Krich (Speak No Evil, 1996, etc.) expertly ratchets up the tension (should Lisa trust the advances of fellow clinician Sam Davidson? What will happen if she goes undercover as an ob/gyn patient herself? How can she disprove the thickening legal allegations?), saving a few choice surprises for dessert. Krich makes use of the suspense formula to put a hot-button issue--the problems of parenthood in the age of fertility clinics--under the knife.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-380-97378-2
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1997




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