I can’t quite bring myself to give this a full five stars, but at the same time, I can’t think of anything I’d change about it, either. This is an extremely solid brain-twist of a science fiction thriller. It’s confident and fast-paced, and I think I read it in about three hours.
Jason is a physics professor at a small college in Chicago. He has a wife and a teenage son, and he loves his life. And then one night on his way home with a grocery bag full of ice cream for his family, a mysterious man in a mask holds him at gunpoint, injects him with unknown drugs, and he wakes up in another life. The events that follow are a mindfuck of the highest order. If you’re familiar with stories about the multiverse, you might catch yourself becoming complacent about where the book is going (like I did) but I urge you to reserve judgment. It’s not going where you think it’s going.
At its heart, Dark Matter is an exploration of possibility, and of identity. Jason’s odyssey takes him into nightmare hellscapes, and everything he loves is taken away from him in cruel and brutal ways, and yet the book is hopeful and uplifting. That’s how I like my books: not just one thing, but many. (Which is a very fitting thing to say in a review of this book in particular.)