In Kira Peikoff’s Living Proof, Arianna Drake is a young fertility specialist whose Manhattan clinic has experienced a spike in popularity in recent months. The year is 2027, and the United States population, government and laws have been heavily influenced by religious fervor and sentiment, to the extent that the disposal of unused embryos is a crime punishable by jail, and expectant mothers are monitored during their pregnancies to ensure they aren’t harming their fetuses in any way. The New York Department of Embryo Preservation assigns Trent Blake as an undercover agent to investigate the clinic, even though it continually passes all inspections. It remains to be seen whether Blake will successfully be able to complete his assignment given what he learns about Arianna and how he starts to feel about her.
Living Proof has an interesting premise and would have been a timely exploration of hot button issues that are playing out in the US today. Women’s reproductive rights, taken for granted and as law over the last 40 years, are now called into question, and are being subtly changed by new legislation. Peikoff presents a picture of what a society might look like if government and religious factions start morphing into the same entity; but the elements and characters are thin, and the plot is mostly inconsistent and implausible – while the dialogue was wooden and preachy on both sides of the issue. Peikoff does provide suspenseful moments, but I never connected enough with the characters to believe in their actions or feeling for each other enough to care about the drama and the obstacles they faced.