Death Match
Lincoln Child
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Death Match
Lincoln Child
416 pages
October 2006
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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With multi-tasking taking over every phase of daily life and the increasing use of personal computers as communication tools, computer matching services meet an evolving need, replacing personal ads with their immediacy and convenience. Busy people have turned to online services to find a mate, services that promise the most recent technology and the highest rate of successful matches.

For his adventure in cyber-world, Lincoln Child dives right into this complicated wedding of technology and human need for companionship. Only at Eden, Incorporated, the actual statistics of happy couples exceeds the norm, making it well worth the hefty $25,000 fee and exhaustive testing process. Eden is a goldmine for its founders, and its customer secrets are guarded with extreme measures.

Suddenly, one of the so-called “Supercouples”, the first perfect match, commits suicide. Eden, Incorporated, hires the services of Dr. Christopher Lash, a former profiler now in private practice. Lash has the perfect credentials and the contacts that the executives at Eden require, especially when a second Supercouple follows the same unfortunate trajectory as the first.

Divorced, Lash has a past he attempts to ignore, having left his career and marriage after an especially disheartening case for the FBI, one that caused his total burnout and with it his effectiveness as a profiler. In spite of the danger of triggering old emotional injuries, Lash requests the exact program as the other applicants in an effort to discover a clue as to what caused the malfunction. He is confident that there will be something in the process to lead him to the error in Eden’s programming.

As he proceeds through Eden’s lengthy testing process, Lash is shocked by the intrusiveness of the procedures, both psychologically and physically. The data retrieval alone suggests interfacing with computers that the general public could never access. Meeting with the owner of Eden, Incorporated, Richard Silver, Lash is impressed with the man behind Eden’s success, and the computer Silver painstakingly put together over the years. A child prodigy, Silver has brought the future to couples in search of the perfect mate. Lash is struck by his genuine concern for the couples who are matched via the company.

Using his profiling techniques, Lash discovers the person behind the suicides of the Supercouples. Unfortunately, circumstances are complicated by new information, and he finds himself in a defensive posture, one with dangerous implications for his future. He is in a desperate race to remove the sudden suspicion cast on his motives and uncover the source of his newly uncovered past history.

Lincoln Child proves himself a capable writer in this singular effort, a deviation from his writing partnership with Douglas Preston, with whom he co-wrote a number of crime thrillers. In this techno-mystery, Child speaks with his own Crichton-esque voice, pulling out all the stops, imagining the complexities of a world run almost exclusively by technology. This newest venture, Death Match, is only the beginning, as Child slides comfortably into his métier as a mystery novelist.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Luan Gaines, 2004

Also by Douglas Preston and/or Lincoln Child:

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