Dark Matter By: Blake Crouch Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase
“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.
Since hitting mass market paperback format, this book has sort of been following me around whenever I’m at the bookstore, lol. I had heard of it since it was first released but it was only more recently that it was finding its way further up the wishlist. As I was looking for a book to read when I went on holiday a few months ago I decided this would make for a good read. Unfortunately I didn’t get much reading doing during my vacation (opting to either be writing or sleeping when I wasn’t taking photos and wandering about) so I only got around to really reading this book when I got back.
Night Soldiers By: Alan Furst Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
Bulgaria, 1934. A young man is murdered by the local fascists. His brother, Khristo Stoianev, is recruited into the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence service, and sent to Spain to serve in its civil war. Warned that he is about to become a victim of Stalin’s purges, Khristo flees to Paris. Night Soldiers masterfully re-creates the European world of 1934–45: the struggle between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia for Eastern Europe, the last desperate gaiety of the beau monde in 1937 Paris, and guerrilla operations with the French underground in 1944. Night Soldiers is a scrupulously researched panoramic novel, a work on a grand scale.
This is not my first Alan Furst novel–that would be Mission to Paris (review)–but this was the first book I had ever heard of by the author and it has long been on my wishlist. Well last year I finally got around to picking it up and reading it 😀
American Assassin (Mitch Rapp #1) By: Vince Flynn Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase
Two decades after the Cold War, Islamic terrorism is on the rise, and CIA Operations Director Thomas Stansfield forms a new group of clandestine operatives—men who do not exist—to meet this burgeoning threat abroad, before it reaches America’s shores. Stansfield’s protégé, Irene Kennedy, finds the ideal candidate in the wake of the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack. Among the thousands grieving the victims is Mitch Rapp, a gifted college athlete, who wants only one thing: retribution. Six months of intense training prepare him to devastate the enemy with brutal efficiency, leaving a trail of bodies from Istanbul and across Europe, to Beirut. But there, the American assassin will need every ounce of skill and cunning to survive the war-ravaged city and its deadly terrorist factions.
It’s not apparent in this blog, but I do read quite a bit of political thrillers peppered in amidst all the fantasy, historical fiction, literary fiction, classics, and poetry that I read. I just don’t blog about it much, if at all, because I tend to blitz through them quite quickly, especially during the summer, lol. This book first caught my attention because there’s a movie adaptation coming out later this year and it’s about to occupy the Jason Bourne-hole in my heart (when John Wick isn’t around, lol):
But then it was funny because I picked up this book and I was pondering to myself that the author’s name was familiar. Aside from remembering when it was announced that he had passed away a few years ago (very sad, and he was so young too!), I remembered that this isn’t the first time I’ve read his books: I read his standalone Term Limits years ago (which I also remember thinking and rating it as pretty good). Anyhow, here we are.
The English Teacher By: Yiftach Reicher Atir Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
After attending her father’s funeral, former Mossad agent Rachel Goldschmitt empties her bank account and disappears. But when she makes a cryptic phone call to her former handler, Ehud, the Mossad sends him to track her down. Finding no leads, he must retrace her career as a spy to figure out why she abandoned Mossad before she can do any damage to Israel. But he soon discovers that after living under cover for so long, an agent’s assumed identity and her real one can blur, catching loyalty, love, and truth between them. In the midst of a high-risk, high-stakes investigation, Ehud begins to question whether he ever knew his agent at all.
In The English Teacher, Yiftach R. Atir drew on his own experience in intelligence to weave a psychologically nuanced thriller that explores the pressures of living under an assumed identity for months at a time.
I came across this book randomly–either from a newsletter from Penguin or a related book website or from Twitter–and the premise and the fact that it was translated from Hebrew was what caught my attention. It sounded like a fascinating read so I picked it up.
(This isn’t the book cover of my edition/the North American edition but I couldn’t find a hi-res version of the book cover I have)
Every Secret Thing By: Susanna Kearsley (writing as Emma Cole) Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
‘No one lives for ever. But the truth survives us all.’
Kate Murray is deeply troubled. In front of her lies a dead man, a stranger who only minutes before had approached her wanting to tell her about a mystery, a long-forgotten murder. The crime was old, he’d told her, but still deserving of justice.
Soon Kate is caught up in a dangerous whirlwind of events that takes her back into her grandmother’s mysterious war-time past and across the Atlantic as she tries to retrace the dead man’s footsteps. Finding out the truth is not so simple, however, as only a few people are still alive who know the story…and Kate soon realises that her questions are putting their lives in danger. Stalked by an unknown and sinister enemy, she must use her tough journalistic instinct to find the answers from the past – before she has to say goodbye to her future.
Whenever I count how many novels left by Susanna Kearsley that I still have to read, I often forget this title. To be fair, this was written under a different name and it was one of her earliest books. I finally picked it up some time ago, determined to finish her backlist of books before her next novel drops 😉