20 February 2008

WICKER, Kevin Guilfoile - Progress Report

I'd hoped by now that I'd be able to write one of my brief reviews of this book, but I am only about half way through its nearly 600 pages.

The central character is Dr. Davis Moore who works at a cloning clinic.
His teenage daughter is raped and murdered and he uses the semen left in her body to become the genetic basis of a cloned baby. He hopes that when the baby grows up he will somehow be able to use him to identify his daughter's murderer.

Not only a really creepy idea but the story raises some big issues about cloning - is the cloned baby the absolute identical twin of the person whose DNA it was cloned on? For example, will the murderer whose DNA was used also have the distinctive birthmark the baby has? Conversely, does genetic make up determine how you think, what you become in life? Will the baby grow up to be a murderer?

My friend who lent me the book says there are even more surprises in store for me. Something about virtual worlds too.

I've read a crime novel related to DNA before.
It has really no links with WICKER but I thought I'd tell you about it anyway :-)

Reuben Maitland is a respected British forensic pathologist with an invention that, in the right hands, should revolutionise crime detection and crime prevention. His invention uses DNA to predict the physical appearance of perpetrators. But Reuben goes too far when in an unauthorised trial he links these computer generated images with CCTV surveillance cameras on the streets of London. Subsequently dismissal from his position as the head of the prestigious GeneCrime lab means that Reuben has to find other sources to fund his research. He seems less than fussy where the money comes from. Just after his dismissal members of his former GeneCrime team begin to die, murdered after extensive torture. The DNA evidence seems to point to Reuben who is an unlovely character whose marriage has collapsed. He has doubts about the paternity of his own son, rubs amphetamine into his gums, and demonstrates a very blurred set of ethics.
My rating 4.0

The other DNA related novel that occurs to me is JAR CITY (aka TAINTED BLOOD) by Arnaldur Indridason. My rating was 4.9

A man is found murdered in his Reykjavik flat, a cryptic note left on his body. Erlendur, Detective Inspector with the Reykjavik police investigates. The investigation of the dead man's past reveals 40 year old accusations of rape and the murder begins to reach out like an octopus into Iceland's past and its present. We learn much about Icelandic society, and about how police investigations are carried out. There are some interesting side plots such as Erlendur's relationship with his drug-addicted daughter Eva Lind, his son Sindri Snaer, and his retired colleague Marion Briem. The investigation moves at a good pace and raises some interesting ethical questions. The jars are Iceland's DNA records.

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