3 out of 4 stars
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Gestation Seven: One Was Black and One Was White by J. Stewart Willis is a novel listed on Amazon in the thriller & suspense category. It has just over 375 pages, and the Kindle edition is $7.99. This is the story of the results of an experiment gone wrong.
Two babies have been found in a dumpster behind a barbecue restaurant. One was black and one was white; both were wrapped in white sheets. Mary Murphy, a reporter with a local newspaper, happened to see the police removing these bundles from the scene. As the new kid on the block, she is anxious to get the scoop on this story as it is her ticket to the front page.
Meanwhile, David Neale has been nervous and uptight lately causing his wife to visit her parents. David works at the National Institute of Health, and two of his co-workers have gone missing. David and his two co-workers were involved in an experiment that seems to have gone awry. Now, they’ve both disappeared leaving David holding the bag.
This book is written in the third person point of view. It alternates between several characters; however, it is always clear who is talking. The chapter title introduces us to what day it is and which character is speaking. I enjoyed getting multiple points of view in a novel such as this where there is a crime involved. Not only do we get the perspective of one of the perpetrators, but we also get to look through the eyes of a reporter and even some investigators. This is helpful in figuring out what exactly has happened.
Unfortunately, I didn’t think there was much suspense involved in this story. We learn at the beginning that several babies have been murdered. We also learn fairly early on that somehow David Neale is connected with it. The story then turns to figuring out the details of the crime and how to best prosecute. In my opinion, this story would be better classified as a crime novel.
That is not to say, however, that the story isn’t enjoyable. The author does a good job at keeping the readers’ interest. I found I was looking forward to learning what would happen in the lives of the characters. The characters are fleshed out well, and I was able to empathize with David as well as the other characters involved. Good characters, to me, help to overlook many flaws in the story.
I was expecting there to be more mentioned about the actual experiment. We learn what the scientists were hoping to accomplish but not how the experiment progressed. I would have enjoyed reading more about the experiment itself instead of just trying to figure out how to pin it on the criminals. If the author maybe even added some flashbacks of the experiment, I think this would have made the novel even more entertaining and unique.
I also felt that the ending left something to be desired. There were two things that bothered me about the ending. First, while I’m not sure it would classify as a cliffhanger, the story just seemed to stop. The author didn’t have everything wrapped up in a nice, neat package like most people are expecting. Secondly, there was a committee hearing that seemed to be more about the author expressing his ethical viewpoint on certain types of experiments than adding to the story. I think the author would have done better to eliminate the hearing and focus more on wrapping up other aspects of the story.
Overall I give Gestation Seven 3 out of 4 stars. The characters were easy to relate to, the plot was interesting, and the point of view was well-done. One thing that would move this from a good story to a truly great read would be that little something extra – perhaps some added suspense or the inclusion of the details of the experiment. Also, I think the ending needs to be reworked to help readers feel more satisfied. Still, those who enjoy stories of investigations and criminals being apprehended would enjoy this book.
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