cover image Chance


Matthew Fitzsimmons. Thomas & Mercer, $28.99 (334p) ISBN 978-1-5420-0947-8

In this provocative if underwhelming near-future thriller from Fitzsimmons (Constance), attitudes toward cloning have divided the U.S. One religious group, the Children of Adam, harasses clones because they believe the clones have no souls. Meanwhile, Chance Harker, a 21-year-old clone who lives in Los Angeles, takes advantage of the new biotechnology in an unusual way. Five years earlier, he and his older brother, Marley, were abducted. Though their father handed over the data drive demanded as ransom, the kidnappers killed both siblings. But that wasn’t the end for Chance, whose memories were uploaded into a new body. (Marley was also cloned, but couldn’t handle his new situation and died by suicide two months later.) In the book’s present, Chance uses his quasi-immortality to become a social media celebrity by performing fatal stunts, such as jumping from an airplane from 15,000 feet, knowing that his mind will essentially survive in a physically identical body. He abandons those diversions when he gets the opportunity to learn the truth about the kidnapping and winds up in a position where his freedom is jeopardized. The worldbuilding is underdeveloped, and Fitzsimmons is stronger on ideas than making his characters feel real. Hopefully, he’ll do better next time. Agent: David Hale Smith, InkWell Management. (Feb.)