Book review: The Space Between by Dete Meserve

4/5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with this ARC.

So, this was a entertaining and fast-paced thriller that actually had me scared (as in “jumpy, is there someone hiding under the sofa”-scared) in a few places, which is no small feat.

Astronomer Sarah Mayfield returns home after having given a presentation at NASA about a major scientific breakthrough, to find her husband – Ben – is missing. Sarah gradually uncovers more and more disturbing and confusing clues to her husband’s disappearance. Their home security camera system was intentionally wiped – by Ben? For what purpose? Then there’s the mysterious bank transaction of 1 million dollars to her account. And Ben was supposed to testify in a lawsuit against his partners in a famous L.A. restaurant and was predicted to win – do his partners have something to do with the disappearance? In addition to all this it transpires that Ben is the prime suspect in a murder investigation in NYC.

The LAPD, and shortly after, the Feds start showing up and questioning Sarah. Is it true that she recently asked Ben for a divorce and is it true that she stands to inherit a sizeable fortune in the event of his death? How reliable is Sarah, really?

There’s a lot going on here, but it’s still easy to keep track of everything, and it keeps the story fresh and interesting throughout.

Set against the backdrop of the stars over a desert sky, this is not only a layered thriller but also a story of two people who once loved each other, trying to rediscover what they lost somewhere along the way.

Personally I love it when a writer immerses me in a subject they are passionate about and have thoroughly researched, so I really enjoyed all the astronomy bits in this one and I felt it added to the story. I don’t know a lot about it, but I find astronomy fascinating. I love going for a night time walk under a clear sky and just gazing up at infinity.

I tend to prefer my thrillers a bit darker and grittier (a la Gillian Flynn), nevertheless, the story here was well-crafted and exciting. And even though it was fairly obvious somewhere around the 60% mark what was going on, I stayed hooked throughout and it was impossible to put down towards the end.

It also gets bonus points for presenting me with a thrilling story that still felt realistic and not too over-the-top. The conclusion made sense and was satisfying.

The writing style was really 50/50 for me. That is, I really liked some of it and was kind of bothered by some of it, which is unusual. For instance I loved this phrasing: “Ben and I were happy together once… and then we weren’t. But it wasn’t a seismic shift that had changed us – it was the slow, inevitable rotation of things.” But then I found this phrasing awkward and it just sort of pulled me out of the story: “[…] his face crumpled and he cried thick tears, like glass jewels that slipped out of his brown eyes.” I mean, what’s that about? Though overall the odd bit of awkward writing didn’t put a dent in my reading pleasure.

So my conclusion is that it’s a solid thriller with an interesting story that I really enjoyed.

 

 

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Jenna M says:

    I got an ARC of this as well. I really enjoyed it overall, but I could NOT deal with the way some of the science was presented. The passage where she’s talking about how moonlight is actually reflected sunlight just felt really odd to me, for example. Why is this high-level NASA researcher giving me elementary school level science as if it’s new info to me????

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I have to admit I did find that a bit weird as well, but I just decided to chalk it up to poetic license. If she was going to write it as a NASA-level scientist would actually think, most readers wouldn’t understand what she was going on about. She could have left it out entirely of course, but I did feel Sarah’s and their mutual relationship with space and stars added something to the story.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jenna M says:

        Oh, I totally agree that going full-on NASA scientist would have been over a lot of people’s head’s, but I feel like there’s a happy medium in there somewhere and the author missed the mark a bit. Still a really enjoyable book. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. True, and fair point! The part you mentioned about the moon reflecting the light of the sun was particularly jarring. But I also learnt what an asterism is, which was cool. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Jenna M says:

        That was a new term for me, too!

        Liked by 1 person

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