by Diana Abu-Jaber
4.3 9


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Origin by Diana Abu-Jaber

“Finally, a novel of literary suspense that gets almost everything right—forensically and psychologically.”—Sarah Weinman, Baltimore Sun
In this "mystery of cold beauty and dark isolation, written with crystalline precision" (Miami Herald), a series of crib deaths in Syracuse, New York, draws the attention of police and national media. Is a serial infant murderer at large? A "haunting story, icy cold in its upstate New York setting but glowing with the unusual brightness of its heroine" (Eugene Weekly), Origin stars a solitary fingerprint examiner who finds herself playing a critical role in the case. Diana Abu-Jaber, a "gifted and graceful writer" (Chicago Tribune), masterfully "transcends formula" (Kirkus Reviews) as "the tension of Origin escalates, shaped as much by beautifully nuanced prose as menacing events" (New York Daily News). Reading group guide included.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393064551
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 06/25/2007
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Diana Abu-Jaber is the award-winning author of four novels, including Crescent, and two memoirs, Life Without a RecipeandThe Language of Baklava. She and her family divide time between Miami, Florida, and Portland, Oregon.

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Origin 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Diana Abu-Jaber continues to polish her craft as a storyteller par excellence. Writing with artful prose, well-integrated scientific facts, an understanding of criminology details, and a gift for creating fascinating characters, she has, in ORIGIN, created a story that is not only a superb novel, but also one that is bound to please a wide readership. ORIGIN is a winner at every level, a novel that exercises the brain while exploring the heart. Lena Dawson is a young woman who despite minimal formal education has become a successful interpreter of fingerprints with the criminal investigation unit in Syracuse, NY. As the novel begins she is separated from a fractured marriage with police officer Charlie, a raucous womanizer who continues to 'stalk' Lena despite their obvious incompatibility. Lena now lives a lone Spartan life, one more committed to her job than to a social existence. Her knowledge and sharp intuition in breaking a case of criminal implications in an apparent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) case has sharpened her interest in other unexplained cases, and her extraordinary investigative gifts fall into place with the rather sudden onset of multiple SIDS cases. Her acumen and skills uncover the possibility of the implication of a serial killer who may be using poisoning techniques to murder infants of a strangely random assortment of couples - a discovery that results in paparazzi-type response from the media. Lena's only consolation and warmth in the frozen wintry Syracuse is her alignment with the tender, caring detective Keller, and as they both pursue the clues and investigation of the morbidly fascinating serial killer, each of them uncover and share personal demons that have shaped their lives. Running skillfully alongside the linear investigation of the crimes is a detailed and touching story of Lena's search for her birth parents (she was 'adopted' by an odd couple as a very young child but has never felt a genetic connection: her dreams of her true beginnings are bizarre yet meaningful). It is the parallel investigation that introduces many fascinating characters and the discovery of a shaded past that has created a woman fearful of connecting in meaningful relationships. And it is to Abu-Jaber's credit that she intertwines both of these highly inventive stories so adroitly that they ultimately blend with a surprising, highly satisfactory ending. Reading Abu-Jaber is a feast for the mind and the heart. Her imagery is richly colorful, cinematically unfolding the frozen landscape of Syracuse as the perfect setting for the two enigmas that eventually melt as they are resolved. This is a writer of enormous talent who has given us a multi-layered novel as fine as any in recent years. Where will her rich imagination and brilliant prose take us next? Grady Harp
ClarkP More than 1 year ago
Origin is one of the most creative and original books that I have ever read. Diana Abu-Jaber is very talented, she is a great writer. This book is impossible to predict, which makes it worth your time and money. Origin is one of my all time favorite books. Trust me on this book, you will like it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once I started this book I was hooked! Could not put it down. The central character, a crime lab worker with an extraordinary skill and a mysterious origin, is tasked with analyzing evidence from SIDS cases and determines there's more to meet the eye [or nose]. The unsolved case combined with her unusual interpersonal relationships form the setting for a tale that will hold your interest until the last page is turned. One talented author, one excellent book!
RCharles70 More than 1 year ago
Please, Please, Please write a Lena Dawson series.
whoizme88 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book that I have read by Ddiana Abu-Jaber so was unfamiliar with her work, and did not know what to expect. I was very pleasantly surprised. This book was very different from the usual mystery book but being different in this case, it was very good. The story developed a little slowly for me at first but then it hooked my attention. The heroine was an unusual character. Overall, a great and pleasant read. J. Robert Ewbank, author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Syracuse, New York grieving mother Erin Cogan somehow got past the Wardell Center for Forensic Sciences guards to reach crime lab technician fingerprint examiner Lena Dawson. The obviously upset intruder pleads with Erin to look into her baby¿s death officially from sudden infant death syndrome. The distraught mom swears her six month old child Matthew did not die from SIDS. While police officer Ed Welmore escorts Lena from the building, Erin looks at the Dawson file, which reads classic SIDS. --- Lena prefers cases involving loss, hurt or damaged children, which is probably associated with her own murky orphaned early childhood. However, although a loner, Lena follows her intuition, which leads her to take a glance at recent SIDS cases that in turn sends alarms in her stunned mind when she sees how much an outlier Syracuse has recently become compared to the national average and the city¿s trends. She begins to wonder if perhaps the near hysterical mother might be right that there is something more humanly sinister than SIDS at work here something tied back to her own miraculous infant survival when the odds of her living was zero. --- Lena makes the tale as she has a ton of psychosis yet needs to know the truth about herself and the sudden spike in SIDS cases. The story line has plenty of action, but is fully driven by Lena, who refuses to quit on either of her quests although mentally she knows her precarious hold on sanity is slipping. Her tentative romance with a detective and her former¿ spouses need to keep her safe enhance the look at this unlikely heroine. Besides a deep look at SIDS and somewhat other causes of infant mortalities (shockingly America ranks 42nd in the world when it comes to infant mortality rate a worse placement than Cuba), ORIGIN is a strong well written police investigative thriller. --- Harriet Klausner
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worst book I ever read