Dark Matter is the latest standalone novel by Blake Crouch. If you recognize the author’s name, but you’re not quite sure from where, well Blake Crouch is the author of the popular Wayward Pines trilogy which was last year made into a TV series featuring Matt Dillon.
I haven’t read anything else by the author except Wayward Pines, so when I saw Dark Matter on Netgalley on offer for us reviewers, I requested it right away. I loved Wayward Pines, so I knew this book would be good too. Alas, the author/publisher refused my request, so stubborn as I am, I bought it. I wanted to read it no matter what, so I would.
Two weeks ago I went on holidays to Greece and I took the book with me to read it on the beach. The sun on my face, the wind on my skin and the sound of the waves splashing against the rocks…the best atmosphere to read the complex science fiction thriller that is to become one of my best reads of 2016.
The theme of this book was very different from that of Wayward Pines, yet I noticed some similarities which I found oddly comforting and made me feel right at home. In Wayward Pines half of the time (well, most of the time, at least in the first book) both the reader and the main character had no idea what was really going on. Same situation here.
Both main characters were thrown into a whirlwind of disjointed WTF moments that they couldn’t make sense of, yet had to somehow find the right end of the thread to take them out of the very complex maze almost blindfolded. And when you finally got to the end of both stories – let’s just say that both endings made you scratch your head in confusion and give you something to think about for the rest of the day at least, whereby you concoct your own possible what if and what could be endings.
Jason Dessen, a failed physicist who is now a happily married man, father and well-loved college physics professor is thrown into another world – literally – when after leaving from a bar he is mugged, left unconscious and abducted to who knows where.
When he wakes up, he is tied to a bed, unable to move, surrounded by some people that he doesn’t recognize in hazmat suits who keep asking him how was it and how did he come back. Come back from where??? And where is here???
He learns that he is not married, he definitely has no children, in fact, he’s lived all his life a recluse devoted to his passion: his job and Jason knows for a fact that this is not his life. A search for his wife finds her unmarried with no kids and a search for his job finds no records of him ever having worked there. At all.
He tries to make his escape at the first opportunity given, but he is captured, so now it’s time for Jason to sit tight and learn what the heck he got himself into and eventually find a way to go back home to his wife Daniela, his son Charlie and his real life. Because here, where they say he’s a prominent physicist with a major breakthrough in his field, is not HOME.
And so starts his one in a lifetime adventure, his quest to go back to his home and Daniela, the love of his life. But things are never as easy as they seem, even when the actual writing style is rather simplistic in itself.
The more I’ve read, the crazier it all sounded, and not wanting to spoil it for new readers, I will not mention what exactly happened. But if you thought Wayward Pines was crazy (in a good way), Dark Matter is of the same caliber, except here you get some quantum physics mixed in with different alternate realities that give you mind fodder for a long time after.
I guess in its essence the book is a love story. One man’s quest to go home to his beloved wife. But things are far from simple when you mix in quantum physics, alternative realities and lots of twisty turning threads that are getting entangled in a way that saying mind fuck three times in a row won’t even cover it.
Of course, now I’ll have to go back and read everything else the author has written because while with Wayward Pines I was a bit on the fence, this novel brought me fully into the Blake Crouch camp.
Not only that but after putting that book down, I’ve started to read more about quantum physics, parallel universes and above all Schrodinger’s cat.