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.