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Fertile Ground
     

Fertile Ground

by Rochelle Krich
 

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Scandal has shaken the life and career of Dr. Lisa Brockman, a physician at a prestigious Los Angeles fertility clinic. First there's the murder of a young donor, then the allegations of egg switching, and finally the disappearance of Dr. Matthew Gordon, the clinic's founder and Lisa's fiance. While the LAPD homicide squad probes the possible connection between the

Overview

Scandal has shaken the life and career of Dr. Lisa Brockman, a physician at a prestigious Los Angeles fertility clinic. First there's the murder of a young donor, then the allegations of egg switching, and finally the disappearance of Dr. Matthew Gordon, the clinic's founder and Lisa's fiance. While the LAPD homicide squad probes the possible connection between the murder and Matthew's disappearance, Lisa launches her own desperate search. Amid charges of fraud and misconduct, she unearths a complex layrinth of greed, decit and coverups beneath the distinguished veneer of one of the world's most successful clinics. Closing in on the truth behind the facility's darkest secrets, Lisa realizes she cannot trust anyone—for behind the facade of friendship may lurk the twisted soul of a diabolical killer.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
When police and the press link the murder of a prestigious Los Angeles fertility clinic egg donor and claims of "egg-switching" to the disappearance of its director, Dr. Lisa Brockman (the director's fiance) must make some difficult choices. Vulnerable alike to clients, administration, and publicand doubtful as well about her relationship and her religionshe nonetheless attempts her own investigation into fudged records, stolen cash, and private agendas. Heady psychological suspense, sometimes a bit overwrought, of special appeal to the medical thriller crowd. From the author of Speak No Evil (LJ 2/1/96).
School Library Journal
YA-The controversial bioethics of fertility procedures provide the backdrop in this well-crafted page-turner that tackles not only new technology, but also the more subtle questions of family identity. When a young egg donor is murdered and the head of a renowned fertility clinic disappears, Dr. Lisa Brockman begins to unearth a complex labyrinth of greed, deceit, and cover-ups. As she tries to unravel allegations of fraud, misconduct, and embezzlement at her clinic, Lisa, the adopted daughter of Orthodox Jewish parents, also struggles with her lapsed allegiance to the observances of her childhood. Her fianc, the missing director of the clinic, did not support her yearnings to return to the religious practices of her youth. With her medical career in jeopardy, Brockman must reassure her patients, including an anxious Orthodox Jewish woman carrying twins, that rumors of egg-switching and other misdeeds are not true. As she seeks the truth behind the clinic's darkest secrets, she finds she cannot trust anyone. YAs will enjoy Krich's adroit tale that pits technology against religious traditions, with twists and turns that last until the final page.-Pat Bangs, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780380789535
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/01/1999
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.04(d)

Read an Excerpt

prologue

The young woman lay motionless on the bed, her arms on top of the light blanket. She didn't hear the nurse approach, didn't know she was at her side until she felt her hand being lifted.

"How are you doing, Felicia?"

The nurse's voice sounded far away and muffled, as if it were coming through a tunnel. Felicia's eyes fluttered open, then shut. "Okay. Tired, and a little groggy. How many did they get?" She'd been asleep, not unconscious, during the egg harvesting She vaguely remembered the doctor speaking to her afterward, but found it difficult now to recall what he'd said.

"I don't know, dear. You'll have to ask the doctor. "

She felt the nurse press two fingers on the inside of her arm, just above her wrist. The woman's nails dug lightly into her skin, but not so that they hurt.

Felicia tried again, and this time was able to keep her eyes open. "Is my pulse okay?" she asked when the nurse released her hand.

"It's a little fast, but fine. " She wrapped a blood-pressure cuff around Felicia's upper arm and pumped. "Blood pressure's fine, she said a moment later.

The vein where the IV tube was inserted throbbed. "That's good." Her speech sounded slurred and thick to her ears. She mentioned n the nurse.

"That's the sedation. It should wear off within the hour. Don't worry, dear. We'll keep you in Recovery till it does, then send Outpatient. Then you can go home. "

"Home" sounded good, but she didn't know how she would off the bed and get dressed, let alone get into her car and drive way to her apartment.

"You've been crying," the nurse said, surprise and worry voice. "Are you in pain dear?"

"Not really. I'm just a little . . . sad," shewhispered.

"That's from the sedation, too. There's nothing to be sad Felicia. The egg retrieval was successful, and you're fine." She smiled. "Just rest now."

"Hagar, the handmaiden of Abraham, abandoned her child,' whispered

"What, dear?" The nurse bent down to hear.

"That's what the man in my dream said. 'Hagar, the handmaiden, of Abraham, left her child to die alone because she didn't want to him cry. But in the end Hagar didn't abandon him. Why are you a doning your babies?' " Tears welled in the corners of her eyes. "I even know who Hagar. is, but it's so sad, isn't it?"

"It was just a dream, Felicia. "

"I know. But he seemed so real. " His voice—quiet, stern—had been so clear. She tried to open her eyes to see him, but her eyelids h heavy, so impossibly heavy, and when she'd finally opened the realized that he'd never been there at all, that she'd been dream.

"Try to relax. " The nurse patted her arm.

"It isn't the same, is it?" she asked urgently. "Giving away eggs and giving up babies?"

"Of course it isn't. Try to rest. "

"That's what I told him. In my dream, I mean. But he said the same. He said . . . he said he was the voice of my babies, babies are crying. He said I would be punished. " Tears were streaming now down her face.

"You did a very lovely thing " The nurse's voice was soft, reassuring. "You're helping other couples have children, aren't you?"

"Yes. "

"Well, then. It was just a dream. Don't let it upset you.

And everything's fine? The eggs are fine?"

The nurse patted her arm again." Everything's fine. You just rest now, " she repeated.

The woman nodded. She breathed deeply and let herself drift off into sleep.

Copyright ) 1998 by Rochelle Majer Krich

Meet the Author

Rochelle Krich is the award-winning author of eight highly praised novels of mystery and suspense including Blood Money and Fertile Ground. She is an Anthony Award winner and an Agatha Award nominee. Ms. Krich lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their children.

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