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226 of 236 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eerie, thought-provoking and keeps you on your toes
The first thing that attracted me to this book was the cover: It looked eerie and intriguing. Perfect People is a stand-alone thriller which was a perfect place for me to start with Peter James' books as I have yet to pick up one of the Roy Grace series (which I now intend to do).

According to the blurb, this book has been 10 years in the planning. When the...
Published on 30 Oct 2011 by Boof

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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Daft but riveting
I have been a great fan of Peter James's Inspector Grace novels, although in the last one, with its sadistic mafia hitman and strange development in the missing wife subplot, he seemed to be straying into Harlan Coben territory, if not the realms of fantasy. In Perfect People, he has embraced the fantasy element wholeheartedly.

John and Naomi, understandably...
Published on 14 Jun 2012 by Nolichucky Nell


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226 of 236 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eerie, thought-provoking and keeps you on your toes, 30 Oct 2011
By 
Boof (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Perfect People (Hardcover)
The first thing that attracted me to this book was the cover: It looked eerie and intriguing. Perfect People is a stand-alone thriller which was a perfect place for me to start with Peter James' books as I have yet to pick up one of the Roy Grace series (which I now intend to do).

According to the blurb, this book has been 10 years in the planning. When the idea first came to James about writing a book about designer babies, it was just that - an idea. Now it is a reality. That makes reading this book all the scarier - we may just be looking at our future.

John and Naomi Klaesson live in California and have lost their 4 year old son to a rare genetic disorder which made them watch him die a slow and horrible death. Still young and desperate for another child, the Klaesson's opt for paying a huge sum of money to geneticist Dr Leo Dettore who has promised them that he can prevent this child from being born with the same disorder that killed their son. What soon become apparant is that Dr Dettore can also offer them so much more scope in "designing" their next child.

This book poses so many questions and will undoubtedly make you think about what you would do in the same situation. Being faced with the option to make your child more empathetic (but would that make them a playground bully target?) or allow them to survive on only a few hours per night like many CEOs and politicians do (but would that mean that they may have sociopathic tendancies?) what would you decide? These are the dilemas that also face the Klaessons when going through page after page of tick-box options. The Klaessons are normal people, they have normal jobs, they live in a normal house and they only thing they really want is a disease-free child...but does that mean that they can't be tempted by anything else?

What makes this book so compelling is that it becomes apparant pretty early on that something isn't quite right. It's so difficult for me to be say anything more about the plot as it really would spoil it, but what I will say is that with fairly short chapters that have a tendancy to end at a point where you can't possibly put the book down, then this makes for one migthy page-turner.

Verdict: An amazing thriller. One that will make you question what you would do, one that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and one that has sufficient twists to keep you on your toes and not get too comfortable...
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Thought Provoker!, 5 Nov 2011
This review is from: Perfect People (Hardcover)
For Peter James readers who are only familiar with his Roy Grace series, this might seem like a real departure from his normal writing. However, for those familiar with his earlier, stand alone works, this is a very welcome `return' to his more spine chilling thriller genre.

With advances in science and genetics, making `Designer Babies' somewhat a reality, it makes this book, one of the most thought provoking books I have read in a long while. Initially, you think that it is all fantastical, but once you think about what is actually scientifically possible today - it is possible these days to choose the sex, hair and eye colour of the child - it becomes quite a scary thought. It really does make you question what you might do in similar circumstances.

As in all of his books, Peter James is able to evoke many different emotions in his readers immersed in his words, and Perfect People is no exception. Emotions ranging from happiness to sadness, fear to excitement, and lots of others in between.

Like other reviewers point out, it is not easy to say a great deal about the plot without giving away the twists and turns that Peter James is so well known for, keeping his readers gripped and thrilled from page one to the very end of the book.

This, as always, is a fantastic read. One that I can, and will be, highly recommending it to my friends, family, work colleagues, and indeed, anybody else I come into contact with, who enjoys reading!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing page turner with a brilliant premise, 24 Nov 2011
By 
Nicola F (Nic) (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Perfect People (Kindle Edition)
I'm partial to Peter James' `Roy Grace' detective books but the summary for this one had me hooked, as did the eerie looking cover. With a Peter James book you're pretty much guaranteed a stellar read, so I was curious to know just how good this standalone thriller/sci-fi book would be. It definitely took me by surprise and though it couldn't be more different from his detective books, I found myself gripped by both the premise and the plot.

I won't summarise the novel as that has been done more than adequately enough already, but I will say that the subject matter is controversial yet the writing is pulled off brilliantly. As a reader you do have to suspend your belief on occasions', though the matter of genetics and designer babies is certainly becoming more of a prominent subject in today's society so it does make you think about what could happen and what you would do if you were in the same situation.

Parts of this book genuinely gave me chills, the underlying feeling all the way through is that nothing is quite what it seems and to be careful what you wish for because you just might get it- and then some! As a reader you begin to understand that the `perfect people' created in this novel aren't really 'normal' by societies standards and wonder what they will do next.

Though I really enjoyed this book, I can concede that it has a few flaws which is what prevented me from giving it the full five stars, though for entertainment value alone that could have been the case. Some of the parent's rather laissez faire reactions to their children's extraordinary abilities caused me to roll my eyes on occaision- particularly the fathers! I also found Naomi's behaviour to veer dangerously out of character towards the end of the novel and generally I couldn't really feel any sort of connection towards either of the parents as they weren't particularly likeable people. My main sticking point was the abrupt ending though- whilst it was carefully crafted to be quick and leave the reader going: "noooo!" I did think that it could have been drawn out just a teeny bit more than it was after investing so much time in the book.

Nevertheless, despite these little gripes, I really did enjoy this novel and would recommend it to anyone looking for a fast paced read with a plot that definitely makes you think.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stand alone winner, 30 Oct 2011
This review is from: Perfect People (Hardcover)
A very long way away from the Roy Grace detective series this is a superb stand alone novel by Peter James.
It's a classic 'page turner' I was itching to get to the end to see what happened and was not disappointed at all. Without giving anything away the final few paragraphs are poignant and unexpected. I had my own thoughts as to what might happen but never went down this track.
A great read in its own right, Perfect People will however make you think about what might just be happening behind closed doors and unfortunately it's not pleasant.
I hope it's a sign of things to come though (in the literary world!) as while I love the Roy Grace series this has proved again how much talent James has and I really hope there are more to come.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Daft but riveting, 14 Jun 2012
This review is from: Perfect People (Kindle Edition)
I have been a great fan of Peter James's Inspector Grace novels, although in the last one, with its sadistic mafia hitman and strange development in the missing wife subplot, he seemed to be straying into Harlan Coben territory, if not the realms of fantasy. In Perfect People, he has embraced the fantasy element wholeheartedly.

John and Naomi, understandably anxious to avoid the heartbreak of losing a second child to a rare genetic disorder, borrow a huge sum and go to a dodgy doctor specialising in genetic modification. His clinic operates from an offshore cruise liner due to the illegality of what it does and threats from religious objectors (I am rather tired of the current trend to portray all religious people as homicidal nutcases, but to be fair, the scientists in this book don't come out much better). Naomi duly conceives, but from the first scan the couple begin to realise that they have not been told the whole truth and that they might be in for a few shocks. Once Naomi gives birth via a nightmare caesarian, she and John are briefly happy until threats from the murderous religious group necessitate their fleeing to England. Then the shocks come thick and fast, never letting up till the very end of this rather bleak story.

Mr. James is a good writer - his characters are well developed and you care about them. Ridiculous as the plot becomes - and it gets very silly indeed - you can't help reading on and wondering when or if this poor couple, who only ever wanted a healthy child, are going to get a break.

In a note at the end, Peter James says he researched carefully and everything which happens in the story is possible. Maybe so, and there is undoubtedly room for a novel which explores the risks and potential consequences of extreme genetic manipulation. However, Perfect People reads like Rosemary's Baby Meets The Omen in a Brave New World. It's a page-turner, but I didn't believe a word.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, 28 Oct 2011
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This review is from: Perfect People (Hardcover)
A move away from the Grace series and for someone who has read all of this author's books a welcome return to the stand alone thriller. I understand this book and topic have been in the construction phase for some time and it is timely to address the issues raised in this book albeit written as a thriller. One debate will be the future of genetically engineered children and of course the avoidance of deadly inherited genes passed on by one or more of the parents would be welcomed by most but the question raised is where would this "manipulation " stop. This book gives a potential insight into that world but in a way that allows the reader to perhaps share their own concerns with the main characters.
I think the right balance has been struck between fictional story and airing this potentially controversial subject manner and certainly as far as I am concerned having read the book it has allowed me to ask questions of myself as to how far I might go as a parent to attempt to secure the well-being and potential of future offspring. A good read which asks more questions than provides answers. I have avoided including the plot in detail to allow readers to discover the issues as they arise and not spoil the story.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A page turner, but not as gripping as his previous works., 17 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Perfect People (Kindle Edition)
As an avid fan of Peter James, having read all his books, I waited a while for a new book after finishing the last Roy Grace story. I must say I was a bit disappointed. I agree that the book is a definite page turner as I wanted and needed to know how the story was going to pan out, but at the beginning of each chapter I was left wanting more from the previous one.
I cannot quite put my finger on why I won't give this book 5 stars, just too many unanswered questions for me to have put the book down at the end and call it a stunner!
Saying all that, it is a good read, and as usual was unable to stop until it was finished.
I look forward to his new book next year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant page turning genetic thriller., 16 Sep 2014
By 
David H J Ashdown (Wales) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Perfect People (Paperback)
Brilliant story about the perils of genetic engineering tied in with the idiocy of certain fanatical religious cults and other organizations still living in the "dark ages" where people are lead by leaders who think that adherence to religious dogma is sacrosanct and being tied to out dated ideas is mandatory. Speaking as a scientist I can see the scenario described in this book being a distinct possibility now or certainly in the near future. But as the story tells you can never predict the eventual outcome with certainty and it's dangerous to dabble with the genetic code unless you're sure of the outcome - and at the moment it's too dangerous for such a course of action. The best book I've read in a long time with plenty of food for thought.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down...., 5 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Perfect People (Kindle Edition)
Loved this in general, very different to my usual read. It was clever and kept me entertained, couldn't put it down. Really gave me an insight into genetics that i didn't think I was even interested in. The only gripes I have are that the main 2 characters are difficult to warm to, I found her cold and him pompous and I thought the references to their apparently never ending budget (for an ordinary couple) was a bit unrealistic. For example the 250k 'savings' that only 'part' cleared them out and then him considering an au pair when they were meant to be in debt, had just rented a huge farmhouse in Sussex and she wasn't working. I also got really irritated by the authors continued use of the phrase 'for some moments', one because it's so frequent and two because it was rarely used in appropriate context. For instance saying for some moments for an act that would ordinarily take seconds. One other thing was a mistake in the middle where the word 'Naomi' is used instead of Phoebe when the doc examines Phoebe. Was a smidge confusing for a sec. Small gripes that don't at all deflect from a really good read. Couldn't put it down and reckon it's good fodder for a TV drama and I'd love to see that.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting idea but just an OK execution, 15 July 2012
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This review is from: Perfect People (Kindle Edition)
I liked the sound of this book and who can argue with the price! It's all about a couple that lose their child due to a hereditary genetic disease and so they go to a geneticist who promises he can stop their next child ever having the disease. Inevitably, it turns out he can change a lot more than just that but that's the whole point of the book so I won't spoil it!

The Pros:
- This book starts strong - the meeting with the geneticist was interesting and makes you start wondering about the ethics of the process from very early on.
- The idea itself is good, it's handled well - making you question the same things the characters are at several points in the book (should they do it / what should they do next). At its core it's a good thriller which makes you keep reading and turning the page.
- Creepy - there's moments that were very eerie and well written. A lot of it you had to buy into the story and suspend belief but once you did that it was creepy!

The Cons:
- Clunky character moments - sometimes the characters seem to do things to further the story regardless of how inappropriate and un-character like it seemed (e.g. getting ridiculously drunk while doing an important interview about your department while you're being considered for tenure).
- A little predictable - not always but sometimes there were moments that just left me as a reader thinking why did the story go exactly where you'd expect (e.g. the ending, purchasing a pet [NB: never good], the geneticist's motives).
- The end - well not just the end, the build up & the reveal were both a little much for me. The book definitely started stronger than it ended. Having to suspend belief happened more and more often as the story progressed and the end fizzled out into predictability.

The Bottom Line:
Good potential and at the Kindle price it's worth a read. It's quite addictive reading if you like that sort of book (I think I finished it in a day) but it's a shame that the second half didn't seem to match the first half of the book for me.
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Perfect People
Perfect People by Peter James
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