Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
A Perilous Conception (Detective Baumgartner Mysteries) Hardcover – December 6, 2011
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"A clever, intricate medical mystery with plenty of twists, an inventive touch with metaphors, and an ample helping of wit." (Aaron Elkins, Edgar winning author of The Worst Thing)
About the Author
Larry Karp, Casey's father, has written long and short nonfiction, restored and collected antique music boxes, and practiced perinatal medicine. He left medical work in 1994 to write mystery novels full-time. The RagTime Traveler is the fourth book of an historical-mystery series, following The Ragtime Kid, The King of Ragtime, and The Ragtime Fool.
A self-described New Yorker, Larry and his wife Myra have lived in Seattle for 46 years. They have two grown children and one grandchild.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The wording is showing that I read a paperback. That's not true. I read the hardcover edition purchased from Amazon.
I don't need to like the characters in order to enjoy a novel but both Baumgartner and Sanford are such insufferable jerks that it's difficult to care about their actions. Baumgartner has a self-righteous attitude that is probably intended to make him heroic, but he instead comes across as annoying. Only readers who worship the police, who think it's fine for a cop to break the law, will find anything admirable about Baumgartner. A Dirty Harry attitude, while a bit stale, might at least make a law enforcement character interesting, but that isn't the case with Baumgartner. He's nothing more than a trite clone of the rogue cop whose warped sense of duty overshadows the rest of his boring life. Anyone with the intelligence and resources of Sanford would have laughed at Baumgartner's outlandish attempts to be intimidating.
The plot of A Perilous Conception is slightly more interesting than the characters but it didn't grab me (although a reader with a stronger interest in the history of medicine might have a more positive reaction). The plot hinges on Sanford telling Baumgartner a series of lies that he has no reason to tell. For long stretches, the story is slow moving -- too much exposition, too little action. Fortunately, the pace picks up toward the end.
A plot twist that might have been intended as shocking (or at least titillating) is closer to silly. I know the novel is set in 1976, but it reads as if it were written in 1976 and has been sitting on a shelf for thirty-plus years. On the other hand, another plot twist -- this one occurring toward the novel's end -- worked as intended: it surprised me while adding much needed life to the story. A final, over-the-top surprise, concerning a subplot about Sanford's childhood, adds nothing. The ending is equally over-the-top.
Larry Karp's writing style is capable, although it is marred by unnatural dialog and a dependence on clichéd phrases. The novel alternates point of view between Sanford and Baumgartner, each telling his story in the first person, but -- except for some unconvincing attempts to make Baumgartner sound like a television version of a tough guy cop -- the voices are nearly the same. Karp knows more about medical techniques than he does about police procedure: Baumgartner does things in his investigation that would never happen in the real world.
This isn't by any means an awful novel. It has its moments. Still, there is little in the plot, characters, or writing style that would encourage me to recommend it to anyone who isn't a medical history enthusiast. I would give A Perilous Conception 2 1/2 stars if that option were available.
Subsequently, the two come up with a couple who have been trying to have a baby without results and Dr. Sanford, who has an excellent practice and also a great bedside manner, talks the Kennetts (Joyce and James) into trying this method in order to end up with a beautiful child. The invitro works and a healthy boy is born to the Kennetts. These are happy times in the offices of Dr. Sanford, and one day he is coming into work getting ready to attend a press conference in which he will announce that he and Dr. Hearn have 'created' the very first invitro baby; and they will introduce this child and his parents to the masses. Dr. Sanford is counting the money and patients he will receive for this accomplishment. (Of course, he intends to give Dr. Hearn a little credit.) When he enters his office he finds everyone looking like gloom and doom and is told that James Kennett went to see Dr. Hearn, and went into an uncontrolled rage, shooting Dr. Hearn and himself.
Police Detective Bernie Baumgartner of the Emerald Police Department is sent out on the case and stubbornly looks for the answers. His boss at the department and the powers at the University are exerting pressure on him to declare the case closed, placing the blame on a mentally unstable individual. But, this detective, to the detriment of his marriage and his job is like a dog with a bone and will not give up no matter who he goes after. This game that is played between the detective and the doctor, who both think that they are the best of the best plays out over these pages with a surprise in every chapter. Don't miss this one - it is a definite keeper. The author does a fantastic job with these two main characters. You love them one minute and hate them the next.