Sunday, February 26, 2012

Living Proof by Kira Peikoff

Kira Peikoff's debut novel, Living Proof, examines the state of medicine in the U.S. in the near future, following "the day when science died." It's a thought-provoking, frightening book, a "what-if." What if the religious right took over politics with a conservative agenda, and controlled medicine? What if it was illegal to destroy embryos, and a doctor caught with one destroyed embryo would be charged with first-degree murder? Peikoff pits medicine and science against religion in a novel set in 2027, just fifteen years from now.

Dr. Arianna Drake runs a fertility clinic in Manhattan, but the success of her clinic raises suspicion at the New York Dept. of Embryo Preservation. And, Arianna's background is suspicious. When the DEP was created in 2011, her father, a scientist, declared they were "Freezing science itself," because they had outlawed the destruction of human embryos, and were stopping research in the name of religion. And, while in college, Arianna supported a biochemist who had been doing illegal research.

Now, it's Arianna's turn to come under the microscope. Gideon Dopp, a former priest, is determined to root out heretic killers. And, he needs to find someone committing illegal acts soon since the department is under scrutiny. They haven't shut down a clinic in two years. Dopp recruits one of his staff, Trent Rowe, a former investigative reporter, to try to become close to Arianna and earn her trust. He's convinced she's up to something illegal, and Trent might be able to worm it out of her.

Dr. Arianna Drake does have a secret, but so does Trent Rowe. He's suffering from a crisis of faith. Despite his job and his parents' strong convictions, Rowe isn't sure the Church and the DEP are always right. And, as he learns more about Arianna, he fears he might have encountered the bravest woman he ever met.

The mix of medicine, science, politics and religion will make this a controversial book. Peikoff could touch off a powder keg with her "what-ifs." At the same time, though, she has written a love story, a story of two people meeting across the chasm of opposing viewpoints. What if Trent Rowe can succeed by bringing down a doctor practicing illegal medicine? What if Dr. Arianna Drake can convince a DEP agent that science is more important than religious belief? The two protagonists are dealing with life and death and even love at a time when religious fanatics are allowed to carry guns into fertility clinics, and scientists are under microscopes. Living Proof is a startling, perceptive debut that examines repercussions for the future if emotion is allowed to trump knowledge.

Kira Peikoff's website is

Living Proof by Kira Peikoff. Tom Doherty Associates. 2012. ISBN 9780765329301 (hardcover), 368p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Nancy said...

This looks to be a fascinating read with much to mull over. Thanks, Lesa!

Lesa said...

Definitely, Nancy. It is fascinating. It's released Tuesday. I hope you look for it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Lesa, for reviewing this. I find so many good books here on your site. Kind of a chilling coincidence: a recent BBC news clip: "Canadian Scientists Muzzled by Government". I applaud the author for taking on this important subject.

Lesa said...

Thank you! And, thanks for the note about the Canadian scientists. I'll have to look it up. I'm happy to know you're finding some books here.

jenny milchman said...

I already pre-ordered my copy, Lesa, and can't wait. Thanks for the review! I'm sharing your link.

Lesa said...

Thanks, Jenny! I appreciate it. Can't wait to hear what you think.

Carole said...

Here's a link to one of the BBC articles, there are good follow-up pieces as well, e.g. the stem cell research issues.

Sorry not to leave my name in the earlier post, but my cat Buzz hit the send key before I was finished typing. :)

Lesa said...

Cats! What can you do, Carole? Thanks for the link. I'm heading off to read it right now. Thanks.

Karen C said...

Very intriguing, indeed!