Infinity's Child

Harry Stein, Author Delacorte Press $23.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-385-31476-3
The paranoia roils so thick in Stein's manipulative new chiller (after The Magic Bullet) that just about every character seems a potential monster. At the heart of the fog of dread stands Sally Benedict, 35, a journalist in Edwardstown, N.H., who longs for a baby and is finally about to have one. It's clear from the opening pages, though, that her infant is slated by sinister forces to become a human lab rat. Sally belongs to an old Edwardstown family whose ancestors are buried in a quaint country churchyard--that is, until three of their bodies are stolen in the dead of night. When Sally pursues the grave-robbing story, the chief of police clamps down on her investigation. Meanwhile, in a Manchester, N.H., laboratory, two arguably mad scientists have discovered a mutant gene, dubbed ""Infinity,"" which seems to cause a few individuals to live unusually long lives. It runs in families, skipping generations, and Sally's baby is scheduled to carry it. Stein is adept at weaving together such disparate story elements, and at creating secondary characters who help the story streak along--like Holt, the renowned New York journalist who once dumped Sally and suddenly wants to reconcile; a self-absorbed husband-and-wife team of venture capitalists; and Sally's assistant, the malevolently ambitious Lisa. The novel's premise is far-fetched, however, and Sally feels like a pre-programmed heroine, compelling only a modicum of reader sympathy as she moves through a familiar script of mother-in-jeopardy heroism. But Stein writes with a slick pen, using crafty narrative techniques to persuade readers to stick around until the shivery scene of delivery-room horror that ends the novel on a note of maximum excitement. Major ad/promo. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Mass Market Paperbound - 464 pages - 978-0-440-46023-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56100-737-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 464 pages - 978-0-440-79022-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 464 pages - 978-0-440-79021-1
Hardcover - 978-0-385-31845-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 8 pages - 978-1-56100-812-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56100-926-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-440-79023-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56740-233-9
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