Published by Crown on July 26th 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller
Buy on Amazon
“Are you happy with your life?”
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”
In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.
Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.
From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.
Dark Matter is a fast-paced sci-fi novel that, at its essence, explores how far a man will go to get back to his loved ones. It follows Jason, a man who has a pretty decent life. He’s got a wife who loves him, a great teenage son, and a job as a science professor at a local university in Chicago. One night Jason goes out to buy ice cream and his entire world turns upside down. He is abducted at gunpoint, drugged, and wakes up in a world that he doesn’t recognize. It’s still Chicago, but it’s not his Chicago. In the version of Chicago Jason wakes up in, not only does he not have a wife and child, but he’s also an award-winning physicist who has been working on and apparently testing a way to travel in the multiverse. His theory is similar to time travel, except that instead of actually traveling through time, you can travel to an unlimited number of parallel universes, each of which were created at key moments in one’s life when choices had to be made. Jason quickly realizes that someone has used his invention to steal his life and deposit him here in this alternate version of his world and begins a desperate race to find his way back home to his family.
I loved pretty much everything about this book. I thought the premise was unique and I thought the author did a brilliant job of incorporating many complex scientific ideas like string theory, while still making the storyline entirely accessible to even a reader who isn’t into science or science fiction. I thought the pacing of the book was fantastic as well. It was an incredibly suspenseful read and the pacing never lagged. It actually just got faster and faster until it reached a breakneck pace each time Jason tried and failed to find his way back home.
It was definitely a plot-driven read, although I thought it also posed some very deep philosophical questions, the main one being how far would you go to be reunited with your loved ones…Would you kill someone if it meant you could have your family and your life back?
I’m probably the last person on the planet to read this book, but if you’re looking for a wild ride that will keep you turning pages way past your bedtime, Dark Matter will not disappoint! 5 STARS
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Published by William Morrow on January 2nd 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Buy on Amazon
Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
The Woman in the Window is a riveting psychological thriller that follows main character Anna Fox, a child psychologist who has been forced to retire because she was recently diagnosed with agoraphobia and is afraid to leave her home. Because her whole world is now confined to her house, Anna has minimal contact with actual people. She has standing appointments with her psychiatrist and a physical therapist, who are willing to make house calls, but aside from that, Anna spends much of her time online playing chess, taking French lessons, and taking part in an online agoraphobia forum where she, ironically, counsels others who are suffering from her condition and helps them move forward with their lives even though she has been trapped in her home for 10 months now. When she’s not online, Anna spends the rest of her time either drinking wine, popping prescription pills, or standing at her window with her camera observing her neighbors. She knows all of the comings and goings of her neighbors, and takes a special interest in the new neighbors that move in across the street. When she accidentally witnesses what appears to be a crime one night while staring at their house and no one believes her when she tries to report it, it turns her entire world upside down to the point where she doesn’t know what is real and what isn’t anymore. Did she imagine it? Is there danger across the street?
One of the mysteries of the book that I found most compelling was that there are hints that Anna has suffered some kind of horrific trauma that has led to her agoraphobia, but we must follow the clues throughout the story to get to the truth about what has happened to her. I actually guessed this plot twist fairly early on, which on the one hand, was a little disappointing, but on the other hand, it also made me feel tremendous empathy for Anna, which I might otherwise not have felt. This also helped me to better accept why she is such an unreliable character and it made me very invested in wanting to see her get better.
The story of what happened to Anna, coupled with getting to the bottom of what actually happened across the street, made for such a gripping read. I literally could not put this book down. At one point, I even had my Kindle propped up next to the stove while I was cooking so that I could sneak in a few more pages. It’s always such a treat to find a book that grabs my attention like that, so with that said, if you’re looking for a suspenseful and twisted thrill ride that will have you questioning what is real vs. what is imagined, I’d highly recommend The Woman in the Window. 4 STARS