Why must Blake Crouch give me all this nightmare fuel? I’m serious, I don’t know why I thought I could get out of this book without my brain being swirled into funnels of terrorized adrenaline. There was little inkling of it in Dark Matter with SPOILERS all of those parallel worlds, and several of them being nuclear wastelands, but that was after the fact. Here, we get it up close and personal and in the moment. Seven times. What the fuck END SPOILERS. I swear, if I wasn’t reasonably sure we would be getting a happy ending, I would have put the book in the freezer and never brought it back out again (except to return it to the library).
Recursion is a twisty-turny sci-fi technothriller. Our two main characters are Helena, a research scientist obsessed with inventing a device designed to preserve the memories of those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, like her mother has, who gets roped into working at a top-secret, highly funded research facility when a mysterious benefactor comes out of nowhere to woo her and make her dreams a reality. Barry is a NYPD cop whose daughter died when she was fifteen years old, and who becomes involved with investigating deaths surrounding the mysterious new disease FMS (false memory syndrome) when he attempts to save a woman from jumping off of a building in Manhattan, only to learn she held memories of a marriage and a son who no longer exist.
And that’s all I’ll say about the plot, because the less you know the better.
I read this book very fast, probably in about four hours, most of it in a binge after I got home from work. It was incredibly hard to put down. Without saying too much, I was impressed with the way that Crouch navigated a reality-bending premise while still keeping things clear for his audience. This could have easily become a clusterfuck. And for a thriller, the characters had a nice core of emotional resonance. They weren’t the deepest built, but there was something real there, and it grounded the story even as it (seemingly) went off the rails. My main thing with this book, and the reason it’s not getting five stars, is that it was Too Much for me at the end there. It was freaking me out so bad I kind of stopped being able to enjoy the story for a little while.
Still, two books in a row for me really enjoyed from this author. Might have to check out his older stuff while he’s working on the next one