Monday 21 February 2022

Off Target by Eve Smith BLOG TOUR #OffTarget @evecsmith @OrendaBooks #GeneticEngineering #ChillingWinterReads #BookReview


A longed-for baby

An unthinkable decision

A deadly mistake

 In an all-too-possible near future, when genetic engineering has become the norm for humans, not just crops, parents are prepared to take incalculable risks to ensure that their babies are perfect … altering genes that may cause illness, and more…

 Susan has been trying for a baby for years, and when an impulsive one-night stand makes her dream come true, she’ll do anything to keep her daughter and ensure her husband doesn’t find out … including the unthinkable. She believes her secret is safe. For now.

 But as governments embark on a perilous genetic arms race and children around the globe start experiencing a host of distressing symptoms – even taking their own lives – something truly horrendous is unleashed. Because those children have only one thing in common, and people are starting to ask questions…

 Bestselling author of The Waiting Rooms, Eve Smith returns with an authentic, startlingly thought-provoking, disturbing blockbuster of a thriller that provides a chilling glimpse of a future that’s just one modification away…

Off Target by Eve Smith was published in paperback by Orenda Books on 17 February 2022. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review, as part of this Blog Tour 

I read Eve Smith's debut novel, The Waiting Rooms in May of last year and was totally astounded by the concept. Not only does she write about science with such authenticity, she also creates characters and plot that are both chilling and compelling.

And so, to the 'difficult second novel' .. Off Target. How would the author follow her wonderful first book? What's in store for the reader?

Once again, this is a story that deals with science. I am in no way at all a science expert, I am always utterly amazed by the new developments, especially in health care that these incredible brains deliver. However, Eve Smith's writing is so accessible and descriptive that even a science ignorant like me can follow it. Saying that, it never ever reads like a text book. Quite often, her descriptions are so matter of fact, just part of the new normal that there were times that I actually believed these things were happening. 

And, this is one of the joys of this book. Set in the very near future, there is no doubt that these things really could be possible one day. Already, in my lifetime, medical advances have soared and the author cleverly incorporates existing procedures into the story. 

So, we are in a world of designer babies in this novel. Most parents are getting screened, to enable them to identify any potential illnesses that any as yet, unborn child may have. This is a massive, money-making business, and like most things, there are some clinics and some countries who will cut corners to increase profit. 

Susan desperately wants a child with her husband Steve. Steve has been married before, his relationship broke down due to infertility issues and he is determined that they will only conceive naturally. It's not happening though. One mistake on Susan's part creates just what she wants. A pregnancy. However, she needs to be sure that Steve is the father. When she discovers that there is no possibility that he could be the biological father of her unborn child, she takes drastic action. 

Fast forward and Susan and Steve's daughter Zurel is pre-teen. She's also elective mute, she used to speak but has stopped and Susan's fear is that her actions before the girl was born has created this condition.  Susan and her family now have to face up to the consequences of those decisions that she made many years ago and it's going to tear them to shreds. 

This is a story that raises so many questions of the reader. We constantly question the morals and ethics of what Susan has done, and the fact that these procedures are so easily available. We can recognise the protestors who regularly campaign against the what the scientists are doing. Imagine the scenes during the Abortion Referendum in Ireland, or the images of heckling crowds outside of abortion clinics and you get some idea of what is happening. 

This is complex, chilling and very frightening story. Eve Smith writes with a compassion for both sides of the arguments, enabling the reader to hear many voices, not least that of Zurel who is central to the story, yet whose own opinions are rarely considered by the adults. 

The fact that this story of fiction is so close to reality is both disturbing and haunting. It's science-fiction with heart and soul and a book that will stay in my mind for a long time to come. 

Longlisted for the Guardian's Not the Booker Prize and described by British bookshop chain Waterstones as: "an exciting new voice in crime fiction", Eve Smith's debut novel The Waiting Rooms was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award and was selected as a Book of the Month in The Guardian just after launch.

"Smith combines the excitement of a medical thriller à la Michael Crichton with sensitive characterisation and social insight in a timely debut novel all the more remarkable for being conceived and written before the current pandemic."

Eve writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues.

She attributes her love of all things dark and dystopian to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills.

Her new thriller, Off Target, is another chilling, prophetic page-turner set in a near future, when genetic engineering has become the norm for humans, not just crops, and parents are prepared to take incalculable risks to ensure their babies are perfect.

Eve’s previous job as COO of an environmental charity took her to research projects across Asia, Africa and the Americas, and she has an ongoing passion for wild creatures, wild science and far-flung places.

When she’s not writing, she’s chasing across fields after her dog, attempting to organise herself and her family or off exploring somewhere new.

Find out more at

Follow Eve: @evecsmith on Twitter, EveSmithAuthor on FB & Instagram

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