Second Child can’t be pigeonholed to a single genre, because it is much more than a medical thriller. It is a drama comparable to those of bestselling author Jodi Picoult, complete with a moral and ethical dilemma involving the production of human embryonic stem cells and reproductive transplantation; also known as cloning. It is a tumultuous ride that combines the promise of staggering medical advances, greed, vanity, marriage and the intensity of the love a parent has for their child.
Dr. Richard Marks is a respected, dedicated chief resident of pediatric trauma surgery at the fictional University Medical Center Hospital in New York City. He adores his wife and daughter, and works tirelessly to make a life for them. However, the most daunting task he will face is letting go of his daughter. Every parent knows the nearly paralyzing fear that harm or illness will come to their child, and that parents outliving their children isn’t the natural order of life. So when their young daughter Max is in an accident, and declared brain dead, Richard will place himself in a position where he could lose everything, including his medical license. Richard and Rachel push the limits of their marriage and U.S. laws. They will trek across the globe, and face the Sicilian mafia to make their family and their lives whole again.
The couple embarks upon a surreal journey to accomplish the seemingly impossible feat to recreate their beloved daughter Max by any means possible, at any cost. There are three warring factions at play: the dedicated physicians monitoring Max in the Intensive Care Unit, offering no hope for her recovery, the global team led by Dr. Eric Sommersby, founder of Immunology Science Associates (ISA), and a mega-corporation on the leading edge of medical technology. Sommersby is ambitious and eager for worldwide acclaim. He is determined to have the first successful clone, despite significant challenges that haven’t been resolved. Sommersby will proceed, pressuring his associate Dr. Robert Welch, Nobel Laureate and premier transplant surgeon to clone Max, despite Welch’s reluctance that the science isn’t ready, and without regard to the possible birth defects and possible health ramifications for Rachel. Ramping up the suspense and action is the League, a religious organization led by Jay Frichter. They vehemently protest Sommersby ‘playing God’ and conduct illegal and immoral experiments in human reproductive cloning on U.S. soil. Both the ISA and the League will go to any lengths for their individual goals, including kidnapping and murder. Dr. Marks and Rachel are relatable characters, and the reader will feel Rachel’s anguish when she has to make the gut-wrenching choice to relinquish her bond with the physical Max, and place her hopes on a genetically identical future Max.
Whether you are pro-cloning or feel that the process interferes with God’s plan, or are completely ambiguous on the subject, the reader will walk away with more information on this controversial topic, and an understanding of varying perspectives on cloning. Young adult or older, single, married, parents or not, readers from every walk of life will relate to the fierce bond of family, and risking everything for the ones you love. There is an abundance of medical terminology to plow through, but don’t let that deter you. The Second Child moves at a brisk pace, and readers should clear their schedules, because once you board this ride, you won’t want to get off until you reach the final page.