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Extended Audio Sample A Perilous Conception, by Larry Karp Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (25 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Larry Karp Narrator: Sean Runnette, Traber Burn Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Detective Baumgartner Mysteries Release Date:
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It’s 1976. Despite fierce international controversy over whether in vitro fertilization (IVF) should ever be performed in humans, doctors around the world race to be first to produce a baby through this procedure.

Dr. Colin Sanford, a brilliant, ambitious obstetrician in the Pacific Northwest city of Emerald, has a plan. He recruits Dr. Giselle Hearn, an experienced laboratory geneticist-embryologist at the university who’s frustrated by the ultraconservative policies of her department chairman. Drs. Sanford and Hearn, working secretly, set out to put their names in history books. Unfortunately, a secret that big is hard to keep, and Alma Wanego, Dr. Hearn’s lab supervisor, catches on and demands a blackmail payment. Several months later, Dr. Sanford’s patient, Joyce Kennett, gives birth to a healthy boy, and Sanford prepares to make an announcement at a press conference. But before that happens, Joyce Kennett’s marginally-schizophrenic husband kills Dr. Hearn and then himself.

Police detective Bernie Baumgartner’s investigation is hampered by pressure from influential people at the university who want to control sensationalism that might harm the institution. The chief of police chalks it up to the work of a mentally unstable man who may have forgotten to take his medication and considers the case closed. But dogged, tenacious Baumgartner suspects that Sanford and Hearn were in fact doing IVF, that they succeeded with the Kennetts, and that murder, suicide, and other crimes were the fallout.

A double cat-and-mouse game develops between doctor and detective, and as stakes escalate, truth becomes an increasingly evasive commodity.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Hot-button issues, ruthless ambition, human experimentation, blackmail, suicide, murder…A Perilous Conception delivers.”

    Kevin O’Brien, New York Times bestselling author

  • “In A Perilous Conception Larry Karp provides a clever, intricate medical mystery with plenty of twists, an inventive touch with metaphors, and an ample helping of wit.”

    Aaron Elkins, Edgar Award–winning author of The Worst Thing

  • “Karp, who as a young doctor was a witness to the race to produce the first in vitro fertilization baby, tempers his well-constructed whodunit with dashes of science and a hint of poignancy.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Karp lays out a very entertaining puzzle for medical-mystery fans.”


Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Al Stoess | 11/29/2013

    " Good book. Interesting turns. Learned about invitro. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Elizabeth | 10/15/2013

    " Not exactly a medical thriller, but a nice, light escape reading. In vitro fertilization is the major topic. Reminded me more of a movie script. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Tiffany | 5/10/2013

    " Mystery novel set in a mythical Seattle (renamed "Emerald). Wooden character and stilted dialog abound, and I guessed part of the mystery's solution by page 37. On the plus side, it has an interesting premise and was a super quick read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Mary Kay | 5/8/2013

    " Interesting novel about the early days of in vitro fertilization with a murder mystery thrown in for good measure "

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About the Author
Author Larry Karp

Larry Karp has written fiction and nonfiction, practiced perinatal medicine, and restored and collected antique music boxes. He and his wife have lived in Seattle for more than thirty years. They have two grown children.