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Most Wanted


Most Wanted

Infertility can be a devastating diagnosis for those who long for a child of their own. Treatments and medical alternatives are expensive and invasive, and not guaranteed to work. For many couples, infertility brings tensions and anxieties they never imagined they would experience. Lisa Scottoline’s latest novel, MOST WANTED, begins with the complex emotions that infertility can introduce into a marriage and adds a devastating twist: What if a couple addressed their infertility with a sperm donation, only to find that the donor may be a brutal serial killer?

Christine Nilsson and her husband, Marcus, struggled for years to conceive. They finally resolved to use a sperm donor, but the decision was fraught as it challenged Marcus’ pride and his ideas about manhood and fatherhood. The two were working through these issues with the help of a therapist, and Christine especially was overjoyed by her pregnancy. But one day, toward the end of her first trimester, she sees something on the news that shakes her to her very core. A man has been arrested for the brutal murders of three nurses, and Christine is convinced that he is donor 3319: her donor and the biological father of her child. Marcus and Christine’s best friend, Lauren, admit that Zachary Jeffcoat, a traveling medical supply salesman, looks a lot like the donor in question, but aren’t convinced they are one and the same.

"MOST WANTED moves fast. It is, for the most part, emotionally driven, but there is plenty of action as well, especially at the dramatic and violent climax."

The Nilssons try to get information from their doctor and from the sperm bank they used, but the privacy of the donor is protected and they don’t get any information. However, when his account is suspended, even Marcus begins to fear the worst. He directs all of his anger and frustration toward the doctor and sperm bank, contacts a lawyer and begins a lawsuit. Christine’s response is quite different: she decides to meet Jeffcoat and see what she can find out, both about his possible identity as donor 3319 and his guilt or innocence as a cold-blooded killer.

Without telling Marcus, Christine goes to Collegeville, Pennsylvania, the site of the maximum security prison holding Jeffcoat. Posing as a freelance journalist, she gets an appointment to see him. She is at once charmed by him, with his astonishing good looks, declarations of innocence and pleas for help. It is hard to imagine him as an evil serial killer, and though she considers that possibility, Christine remains mostly convinced of his innocence. In order to prove it, she finds a local lawyer willing to take on his case and goes to work as his paralegal, investigating the crimes as well as another death, one she believes is connected to the murder for which Jeffcoat was arrested. Working to uncover the truth about the murders, Jeffcoat and the identity of donor 3319 brings Christine face to face with terrible sadness and terrifying danger.

MOST WANTED moves fast. It is, for the most part, emotionally driven, but there is plenty of action as well, especially at the dramatic and violent climax. Improbabilities abound, but readers looking for fun escapist reading will be able to overlook those and let Scottoline present a series of charged and frightening “what ifs.”

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on April 13, 2016

Most Wanted
by Lisa Scottoline

  • Publication Date: February 28, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 1250010144
  • ISBN-13: 9781250010148