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Death Match
Cover of Death Match
Death Match
Borrow Borrow
A "cautionary tale about artificial intelligence" (Washington Post) that is almost too frighteningly believable not to be real—from the internationally acclaimed #1 New York Times bestselling thriller writer
Lewis and Lindsay Thorpe were the perfect couple: young, attractive, and ideally matched. But the veil of perfection can mask many blemishes.
When the Thorpes are found dead in their tasteful Flagstaff living room (having committed double suicide), alarms go off in the towering Manhattan offices of Eden Incorporated, the high-tech matchmaking company whose spectacular success, and legendary secrecy, has inspired awe around the world. The Thorpes, few people knew, were more than the quintessential happy couple—they were Eden’s first perfect match.
A short time later, Christopher Lash, a gifted former FBI forensic psychologist, receives an urgent plea from Eden to perform a quick—and quiet—investigation into the deaths. Lash’s psychological autopsy reveals nothing suspicious, but inadvertently dredges up the memories of a searing personal tragedy he has kept at bay for years.
The situation changes suddenly when a second Eden couple is found dead—by all appearances, another double suicide. Now Eden—particularly Richard Silver, the company’s brilliant and reclusive founder—has no choice but to grant Lash unprecedented access to its most guarded secrets if he is to have any chance of determining what is going wrong. The hidden world he discovers is a stunning labyrinth of artificial intelligence, creative genius, and a melding of technology that does indeed, to Lash’s surprise, deliver on Eden’s promise to its clients: the guarantee of a perfect, lifelong mate. But Lash’s involvement in the investigation becomes more personal and dangerous than he could have imagined, nearly as soon as it begins.
Infused with relentless suspense and tremendous imagination and skill, Death Match is master thriller writer Lincoln Child at his best.
A "cautionary tale about artificial intelligence" (Washington Post) that is almost too frighteningly believable not to be real—from the internationally acclaimed #1 New York Times bestselling thriller writer
Lewis and Lindsay Thorpe were the perfect couple: young, attractive, and ideally matched. But the veil of perfection can mask many blemishes.
When the Thorpes are found dead in their tasteful Flagstaff living room (having committed double suicide), alarms go off in the towering Manhattan offices of Eden Incorporated, the high-tech matchmaking company whose spectacular success, and legendary secrecy, has inspired awe around the world. The Thorpes, few people knew, were more than the quintessential happy couple—they were Eden’s first perfect match.
A short time later, Christopher Lash, a gifted former FBI forensic psychologist, receives an urgent plea from Eden to perform a quick—and quiet—investigation into the deaths. Lash’s psychological autopsy reveals nothing suspicious, but inadvertently dredges up the memories of a searing personal tragedy he has kept at bay for years.
The situation changes suddenly when a second Eden couple is found dead—by all appearances, another double suicide. Now Eden—particularly Richard Silver, the company’s brilliant and reclusive founder—has no choice but to grant Lash unprecedented access to its most guarded secrets if he is to have any chance of determining what is going wrong. The hidden world he discovers is a stunning labyrinth of artificial intelligence, creative genius, and a melding of technology that does indeed, to Lash’s surprise, deliver on Eden’s promise to its clients: the guarantee of a perfect, lifelong mate. But Lash’s involvement in the investigation becomes more personal and dangerous than he could have imagined, nearly as soon as it begins.
Infused with relentless suspense and tremendous imagination and skill, Death Match is master thriller writer Lincoln Child at his best.
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One ONE


    It was the first time Maureen Bowman had ever heard the baby cry.

    She hadn't noticed right away. In fact, it had taken five, perhaps ten minutes to register. She'd almost finished with the breakfast dishes when she stopped to listen, suds dripping from her yellow-gloved hands. No mistake: crying, and from the direction of the Thorpe house.

    Maureen rinsed the last dish, wrapped the damp towel around it, and turned it over thoughtfully in her hands. Normally, the cry of a baby would go unnoticed in her neighborhood. It was one of those suburban sounds, like the tinkle of the ice cream truck or the bark of a dog, that passed just beneath the radar of conscious perception.

    So why had she noticed? She dropped the plate into the drying rack.

    Because the Thorpe baby never cried. In the balmy summer days, with the windows thrown wide, she'd often heard it cooing, gurgling, laughing. Sometimes, she'd heard the infant vocalizing to the sounds of classical music, her voice mingling in the breeze with the scent of pi-on pines.

    Maureen wiped her hands on the towel, folded it carefully, then glanced up from the counter. But it was September now; the first day it really felt like autumn. In the distance, the purple flanks of the San Francisco peaks were wreathed in snow. She could see them, through a window shut tight against the chill.

    She shrugged, turned and walked away from the sink. All babies cried, sooner or later; you'd worry if they didn't. Besides, it was none of her business; she had plenty of things to take care of without messing in her neighbors' lives. It was Friday, always the busiest day of the week. Choir rehearsal for herself, ballet for Courtney, karate for Jason. And it was Jason's birthday; he'd demanded beef fondue and chocolate cake. That meant another trip to the new supermarket on Route 66. With a sigh, Maureen pulled a list from beneath a refrigerator magnet, grabbed a pencil from the phone stand, and began scrawling items.

    Then she stopped. With the windows all closed, the Thorpe baby must really be cranking if she could hear . . .

    Maureen forced the thought from her mind. The infant girl had barked her shin or something. Maybe she was becoming colicky, it wasn't too late for that. In any case, the Thorpes were adults; they could deal with it. The Thorpes could deal with anything.

    This last thought had a bitter undertone, and Maureen was quick to remind herself this was unfair. The Thorpes had different interests, ran in different circles; that was all.

    Lewis and Lindsay Thorpe had moved to Flagstaff just over a year before. In a neighborhood full of empty nesters and retirees, they stood out as a young, attractive couple, and Maureen had been quick to invite them to dinner. They'd been charming guests, friendly and witty and very polite. The conversation had been easy, unforced. But the invitation had never been returned. Lindsay Thorpe was in her third trimester at the time; Maureen liked to believe that was the reason. And now, with a new baby, back full-time at work . . . it was all perfectly understandable.

    She walked slowly across the kitchen, past the breakfast table, to the sliding glass door. From here, she had a better view of the Thorpes'. They'd been home the night before, she knew; she'd seen Lewis's car driving past around dinnertime. But now, as she peered out, all seemed quiet.

    Except for the baby. God, the little thing had leather lungs . . .

    Maureen stepped closer to the glass, craning her neck. That's when she saw the Thorpes' cars. Both of them, twin Audi A8s, the black one Lewis's and the silver one Lindsay's, parked in the...
About the Author-
  • Lincoln Child is the author of Death Match, Deep Storm, Terminal Freeze, The Third Gate, and The Forgotten Room, as well as co-author, with Douglas Preston, of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including Blue Labyrinth, White Fire, Cold Vengeance, and Relic. He lives with his wife and daughter in Morristown, New Jersey.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 16, 2004
    A starred or boxed review indicates a book of outstanding quality. A review with a blue-tinted title indicates a book of unusual commercial interest that hasn't received a starred or boxed review.

    DEATH MATCH
    Lincoln Child
    . Doubleday
    , $24.95 (400p) ISBN 0-385-50670-8

    Child's work as both solo author (Utopia
    ) and with Douglas Preston (Relic
    ; Still Life with Crows
    ; etc.) always features concepts so high they threaten readers with nosebleeds. Eden, a computerized matchmaking corporation, promises clients who pay a $25,000 fee and pass strict psychological and physical testing that they will receive not just a date but a perfect romantic match, a soul mate with a lifetime money back guarantee. All of the couples brought together are blissfully happy; in the company's history no one has ever asked for a refund. The moving force behind Eden is a supercomputer named Liza and her designer, the brilliant, reclusive Richard Silver. Liza compares one million variables in its process, and those candidates with a 95% match rate are declared ideal mates. Six couples out of the 624,000 people who have gone through the program have had all million variables perfectly aligned, creating what Eden calls "Supercouples." But one of the supercouples has inexplicably committed double suicide. Dr. Christopher Lash, a psychologist specializing in marital relationships, is called in to discover what has gone horribly wrong. Within a week, a second supercouple have also killed themselves. Lash works with security technician Tara Stapleton to investigate some of the individuals rejected by Eden. At the end of the book Lash is in serious trouble, and the entire Eden house of cards is beginning to collapse. As in all of Child's work, there is plenty of interesting cutting-edge science and, in this case, psychiatric and computer lore. Most thriller veterans will know from almost the beginning who is behind the suicides of the supercouples, but putting it all together makes for an entertaining read. (May)

    Forecast
    :An intriguing premise, lots of fascinating science, a broad fan base and excellent film prospects add up to happy sales.

  • The San Jose Mercury News

    "Slick, sophisticated entertainment, as well as a cautionary tale about artificial intelligence."--Washington Post"Impeccably in tune with the times." --Entertainment Weekly"Child conquers the complexities of artificial intelligence--fueling the plot with material usually comprehensible only to technogeeks."--People"Speeds toward a suspenseful conclusion." --The Commercial Appeal (Memphis)"Fans of head-spinning '70s thrillers like The Stepford Wives or The Boys From Brazil will want to input this baby right away. . . . Fascinating.... A techno-thriller that cares as much about the heart as it does about the hardware." --Mystery Scene"Pure entertainment."

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