This post will be divided into two parts, the first being a review on a recent book I finished reading from crime fiction author Michael Connelly, and the second part will deal with discussing the risks of DNA submissions for testing ancestral, family history, and how it can backfire. The reason being, DNA plays a significant role in the novel’s narrative and the crimes committed. I want to state that I’m not discouraging people from wanting to find out their family history/origins, I’m simply expressing ways that your DNA can be manipulated, mishandled, and possibly distributed for purposes you never intended it to be. With that said, I will start with the review and if you’re interested in crime fiction (Mystery, Thrillers, etc…) then definitely give this book a read.
Part 1: Book review
Fair Warning is the latest novel release from critically acclaimed crime fiction author Michael Connelly and his 34th overall. This novel is the third he wrote with protagonist Jack McEvoy, a crime reporter which Connelly himself used to be, and I must say that the books in the McEvoy series keep getting better with every installment. In addition, I also own a few Harry Bosch novels which Connelly is most known for. So in Fair Warning things are a bit different for Jack, he’s no longer a crime journalist, but rather a watchdog reporter for a nonprofit consumer protection news website called Fair Warning which also exists in real life and the man who operates the organization Myron Levin is a character in the novel. Jack McVoy has faced down serial killers in the last two books (The Poet, The Scarecrow) but this case was more frightening because he’s a suspect in a woman’s brutal murder that he knew. He not only has to clear his name but also protect his sources from a criminal mind that brutally kills his victims by Atlanto-occipital dislocation or put simply internal decapitation. All the women victims shared a DNA trait that they submitted to a DNA testing company called GT23. This vicious killer hunts down women using genetic data, selects, and stalks his victims. In regards to that, the killer in this book compared to the other two in The Poet and The Scarecrow in my opinion didn’t have any depth in terms of backstory or creepy aurora about him. His motives aren’t very clear when it comes to what could have influenced him to committing murders, but his connection to an Incel Dark web site and fellow perpetrators in that community could have been a catalyst. Connelly sticks to using the first-person perspective with McEvoy as he did in the other two novels, a third person POV for the serial killer and a third person POV for another vital character who is a member of an Incel dark website that plays a pivotal role in the plot. Furthermore, even though this is a work of fiction, there are real-life communities represented in this book such as Incel groups and their rise of misogyny that could lead to dangerous and deadly ramifications. Connelly has in my opinion from the books I’ve read of his been great with pacing, dialogue, and creating a story that’s exciting, intense, and enjoyable, and all these descriptions make a good crime thriller/mystery.
Part 2: Commentary on how DNA Testing can backfire
Have you ever wanted to know your family history/origins and submitted DNA to agencies such as 23andMe and Ancestry to name a few? If you have or are willing to do it then cool, but you might not know what’s going on behind the scenes that can be disturbing. I have friends who have done ancestry testing to see their origins, but after reading this novel it brought a new level of understanding to me on how our DNA information and the governing bodies who are supposed to monitor such testing agencies can cause harmful effects when issues that arise are left untreated. In other words, Connelly exposes the unregulated genetic DNA companies and how consumers’ belief in anonymity and privacy can be reneged on . To make this even more unsettling the DNA can be transferred from a primary agency let’s say Ancestry, then sent to a second party who in turn has an affiliation with a third party and with that your DNA has entered a rabbit hole and it’s vulnerable to be used in whatever way. For example, without spoiling anything from the novel, McEvoy learns that a lab is making money advertising on the dark web and selling DNA information on the black market. From there DNA of the clients were used for purposes that ended with the death of women. Look, as I said in the beginning of this post, I’m not discouraging people from discovering information about themselves, but keep in mind that the people who test your DNA and have the history about your past and your biological makeup can very well use it for their means and capitalize and cause you to become of a victim in their plans. You might think this is implausible, but with questionable security measures and mediocre regulations by the FDA, any negative result is possible.
If interested check out FairWarning.org to see the news that some news outlets might neglect to address. This is my first time doing a book review and I’ll look into maybe doing more, but this one was much needed for the subject matter it dealt with. Leave a like if you enjoyed reading this and give my page a follow so you can stay up to date with my future posts. As always, peace and keep it real.
Rating for the book : 4/5
Grade : B+
Would I recommend this book : Yes