Off Target by Eve Smith

Today it is over to Mandie who is sharing her thoughts on Off Target, the latest thriller from Eve Smith. I read and reviewed the book earlier this year and it was one of those that really got you thinking about the whys and wherefores, and the morality, of genetic engineering. You can read my review here. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy/Owned EBook
Release Date: 17 February 2022
Publisher: Orenda Books

About the Book

When a one-night stand leads to a long-desired pregnancy, Susan will do anything to ensure her husband won’t find out … including the unthinkable. But when something horrendous is unleashed around the globe, her secret isn’t the only thing that is no longer safe…

A longed-for baby
An unthinkable decision
A deadly mistake

In an all-too-possible near future, when genetic engineering has become the norm for humans, not just crops, parents are prepared to take incalculable risks to ensure that their babies are perfect … altering genes that may cause illness, and more…

Susan has been trying for a baby for years, and when an impulsive one-night stand makes her dream come true, she’ll do anything to keep her daughter and ensure her husband doesn’t find out … including the unthinkable. She believes her secret is safe. For now.

But as governments embark on a perilous genetic arms race and children around the globe start experiencing a host of distressing symptoms – even taking their own lives – something truly horrendous is unleashed. Because those children have only one thing in common, and people are starting to ask questions…

Bestselling author of The Waiting Rooms, Eve Smith returns with an authentic, startlingly thought-provoking, disturbing blockbuster of a thriller that provides a chilling glimpse of a future that’s just one modification away…

Mandie’s Thoughts

If I thought I should be worried for the future after reading The Waiting Room, Off Target has done little to change that feeling. Once again Eve Smith has created a well-crafted book that looks at the what ifs and possibilities that are all to believable and will leave you questioning just how far you would go.

Susan has wanted a baby for a long time. Both she and her husband Steve have had all the tests and there is no reason for them not to conceive. When she falls pregnant after a one-night stand, Susan does all that she can to keep both the baby and her marriage even if it means modifying her baby’s DNA. It is only as her daughter gets older and more things are known about the repercussions of the procedures that were done the true ramifications of these decisions come out. 

I guess I can understand the desperation of someone who for whatever reason is unable to conceive a child easily or by natural means so in that respect I can see why Susan felt she had to do what she did, after that however I think I found her character bordering on the selfish side. Her determination to reach her goal of becoming a mother to the exclusion of her husband and the natural father was not something I could get on board with. Yes she was a devoted mother to Zurel, but even when things started to change she still managed to somehow justify what she did and believed that everything would work out. 

Zurel was dealing with her own issues. Fed up of the tests she had to participate in and also an elective mute, she found it hard to fit in and was not completely sure why. Her natural inquisitive nature however gave her some answers she may not have been ready for and left her feeling even more unsure of her place in the world and put her in danger. 

This is definitely a book that will have you wondering just how far science will go to reduce risks of currently incurable diseases and enabling anyone to be able to have a child. I can’t help but think if there was a way to change the DNA to the extent that it is in the book to save a marriage, how long would it be before there were unscrupulous companies that would do it to help trap someone for financial gain? I know that we do screen for things currently to help make decisions,but I don’t think I would want to go through it myself, not if there was a greater risk to the baby by doing so.

About the Author

Eve Smith writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. She attributes her love of all things dark and dystopian to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills. In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues. Set twenty years after an antibiotic crisis,her debut novel The Waiting
Rooms was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award. Her flash fiction has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and highly commended for The Brighton Prize.

When she’s not writing she’s romping across fields after her dog, trying to organise herself and her family or off exploring somewhere new.