David Bernstein’s 294 page novella, Surrogate, starts with an interesting idea: a woman left barren by tragedy turns to an experimental cloning program to get the child she’s always wanted, but things take a dark turn, putting her whole family in jeopardy. Unfortunately, the story never really delivers. It doesn’t get started until halfway through the book and then it drags along, ping-ponging back and forth between predictable and ridiculous. The plot depends on stupid people making stupid decisions. The women are irrational and manipulative and the men are weak-willed and pathetic. The pace is bogged down by filler and characters constantly rehashing things the reader has already seen. Tricky plotting issues, like how one woman dragged another unconscious woman out of a basement by herself, are just skipped over. None of the characters are fully realized or behave in ways that make sense. The dialogue is silly, repetitive, and lacks maturity. The only insult anyone seems to know is “bitch,” which characters lob at each other no less than 13 times–middle-aged, professional, adult characters, mind you.
Following publication, this book is available free on Kindle Unlimited
Disclaimer: This book was provided free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.