The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels, but writers are going to continue writing novels within a series even after I have done my review, so I plan on reviewing the individual novels as they come into circulation. J.A. Schneider just recently added book #6, Razor Sharp, to the Embryo series.
J.A. Schneider’s Embryo series started out as a futuristic medical thriller as the embryo in this series is the first human fetus that is brought to full term outside the mother’s uterus with possible genetic enhancements. However, as the series progresses, it is quite clear that this is indeed not a futuristic medical thriller but is very much a crime thriller with two OB/GYN physicians and married couple, Dr. Jill Raney and Dr. David Levine acting as detectives. The embryo, which is now a child named Jesse and the adopted child of Raney and Levine, is more of a background character and is not really the focus of the series.
The latest novel in the series, Razor Sharp, continues the crime thriller theme with a nasty serial killer murdering men who have had sex reassignment surgery or at least thinking about it. The killer’s modus operandi is similar to that of the slayings of Jack the Ripper. Drs. Raney and Levine are called onto the case when a women was found murdered in a style similar to the way the men had been killed. The police have found that Jill Raney has a talent in ‘seeing’ things in the evidence and often seek her advice. The cops also appreciate that both Raney and Levine can snoop around without having to obtain a warrant, which has come in handy from time to time.
With the exception of the first book in the series, Embryo, I would say that I like Razor Sharp better than any of the other books in the series as it has a decent edge to it that I like to see in a good thriller. The only problem that I have is that Schneider has strayed from the original theme of the series as both Raney and Levine are not really doing any doctoring, but are solving crimes. I think they should just quit their jobs as OB/GYN doctors and become detectives especially since David Levine likes carrying around a gun. Also the series really isn’t the Embryo series anymore as the embryo, which is now a toddler named Jesse, has only a minor role to play. Schneider tries to give Jesse more of a role in Razor Sharp, but the focus of the story is really still on Raney and Levine.
One of the strengths of Razor Sharp was Schneider’s sensitive exposé of the psychological struggles that transgender men endure and the stigma from society that they must face. Even though our society is becoming more accepting of homosexuality, it still has a long way to go in accepting transgender behavior. Hopefully with Bruce Jenner’s very public coming out as Caitlyn Jenner, and fictional writings like Razor Sharp, society will eventually become more tolerant.
For those that haven’t read the Embryo series, Razor Sharp can be read as a standalone, though it would be helpful to read the first book in the series, Embryo, to get a better understanding about Jesse and why Raney and Levine have become detectives.
To learn more about the series check out my review of the Embryo Series.