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How much should scientists tinker with Mother Nature? This question drives the action of the medical thriller Embryo by J. A. Schneider. After witnessing two tragic, and gory, delivery mishaps, medical intern Jill Raney begins to suspect a connection between the cases. What she discovers leads to the book’s shocking conclusion.

Along the way, Jill and her resident supervisor, David Levine, experience a growing attraction. She’s on the fast track in the medical field and lucky to be interning at a hospital esteemed for its advances in fertility and medical engineering. Jill’s puts her career in jeopardy when she insists on investigating possible links between the recent cases involving high-risk pregnancies and delivery complications. In her quest to unveil breaches in medical ethics, she herself becomes guilty of the same thing.


Cover image of Embryo by J. A. Schneider


The author’s style borders on cinematic and scenes are rendered with careful visual detail. The passages also read quickly and efficiently. Another boon involves the use of medical terminology. The reader learns about DNA research and medical procedures in the natural flow of the story and will walk away richer in scientific knowledge.


Undoubtedly, the story is Jill’s to tell. Most of the novel is told from her limited third-person point of view. Yet, at times, the author switches into the mindset of other major and minor characters. Most of the head-hopping stays within designated scenes with clear transitions, but on occasion, the narrative becomes omniscient. Such times weakened the flow and power of the overall narrative.


J.A. Schneider gives readers a world poised on the brink of scientific breakthrough. She’s a writer with something to say and her novel gives readers a world much like ours, but with heightened attention to the struggles mankind inevitably will need to face in the future.


Indeed, the end of the book harkens back to aspects of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, which is fine company for a writer to find herself in. J.A. Schneider’s fictional world of genetic engineering and doctors who test ethical boundaries in the name of science really isn’t too far-fetched at all. Perhaps the sequel will reveal what exactly goes on at the mysterious Infant School for the little Frankensteins the doctors at the hospital have created?


You can connect with Joyce on her website.


Are you typically drawn to medical thrillers?



A complimentary copy was provided by the author in exchange for this review. For more insight, read my Book Review Criteria.


Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2012.

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