“Find You First”

“Find You First” opens with a chilling declaration: “Two down, seven to go.”  

Billionaire tech giant Miles Cookson has been diagnosed with an incurable, destructive, genetic disorder; Huntington’s disease is untreatable, progressive, and terminal. Now his life is one risk after another from Cheetos and Big Macs to speeding and sky diving. The defective gene is passed to children. Does he have children? The answer is complicated. It seems reasonable and humanitarian to share his wealth with his unknown children. In the meantime, he has a company to run, innovative products to create, money to make, and children to provide for before he dies. After all, he has already shared his potentially flawed DNA with these “unknown” children, so he wants to get them tested. Wouldn’t they want to know?

The unique thing about DNA is that it tells a lot about people and their relationships, a whole lot. Marissa Pritkin sent her DNA to an online family history site as millions of others have done, and gets a surprising ¼ match. Her brother Jeremy, an eccentric billionaire, strongly objects. After all, he does not want obscure unknown relatives giving him grief and asking for money; he has enough problems as it is. Chloe was born via IVF into a wonderful family with two moms. She is making a video to fill the gaps in her family history. She also sent DNA to a family ancestry website and actually found a relative, a half-brother in fact, Todd Cox.

Step by step, tentacles reach out in all directions, and plans unfold. There are nine kids, nine names and addresses. Readers already know some of them and learn more, much more, about all of them as the story progresses. Miles is determined to find the children, and give them money — or not, and the race is on. Is he foolish? When some of the nine go missing or turn up dead it seems that perhaps someone else has eyes on the money.

DNA chains are not the only things coiled and twisted in “Find You First.” The story is like several hundred jigsaw puzzle pieces dumped on a table that have to be put together. Nothing fits, but eventually a very clear picture emerges. The ending is unexpected, but the story is not really about the end; it is about the characters and the chase. “Find You First” is compelling, challenging, and filled with complex moral challenges from start to the spectacular finish.