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Death Match
Lincoln Child
Doubleday 2004
368 pages

Death Match by Lincoln Child is the kind of novel which will try the patience of even the most generous read. Being among those who are generous readers I found myself wondering very early in the novel how things were going to be spun to avoid the obvious well worn science fictions tracks that have preceeded this novel. In a disappointing turn of events none of the obvious things were avoided; quite the opposite, they were embraced.

Eden Corporation has come up with a no fail method of finding the perfect mate. With the help of a super computer AI named Lisa programmed by a reclusive genius Eden pairs up couples that are happier than ever and never get divorced. It is like a dream come true at 25 thousand dollars a pop until the couples with the most perfect matches start to die under mysterious circumstances. Enter former a FBI forensic psychiatrist to solve the problem and get the corporation back on track.

Reading the same story that has been done in many incarnations is not necessarily a bad thing if the newest incarnation has something new to offer. When D.C. Fontana took on this theme on the original Star Trek series in episode 53 “The Ultimate Computer” it was handled in a fresh and entertaining way but in the hands of Child the exact same theme becomes hackneyed and tiring.

Readers who haven’t figured out the story by page 100 probably haven’t done much reading or television watching in the last few decades. The only readers who could possibly get into the story deeply are those who have never been exposed to this story before.

On the plus side Child can write a plot driven novel of two dimensional characters that moves along at a good clip. This is a one day read at the most and the kind of book that it won’t bother you to leave on the bus or subway for someone else to read. 
If you have the option give Lincoln Child’s Death Match a pass.