Macmillan | 2019 (13 June) | 336p | Review copy | Buy the book
NYC cop Barry Sutton has been called to a rooftop. A woman is about to throw herself off and there is nothing that Barry can say that will make her change her mind – because the woman is afflicted with False Memory Syndrome. This new condition fills the sufferer’s mind with a whole host of other memories, as real as anything in their true lives. And sometimes reality just isn’t the same – a child now gone will be forever missed, a loving husband or wife now replaced. Some people just cannot cope and the suicide rate of FMS sufferers is high. And then, when Barry gets home, he gets a nosebleed, a telltale sign of infection. Barry is about to discover that the past is no longer behind him.
Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter enthralled me and is easily one of my favourite thrillers of all time. Not surprisingly, I was really keen to dive into Recursion. It did not disappoint. It’s every bit as good as Dark Matter and yet again Blake Crouch has demonstrated that he is indeed the heir to Michael Crichton, the previous and much-missed master of the techno thriller.
How to describe Recursion presents me with a bit of a challenge. I want to say no more about the plot than the brief introduction above because from simple beginnings it becomes mindbending. Blake Crouch is a genius for plotting this one the way that he has. A more complicated, twisty and knotted plot would be hard to imagine, with more paradoxes than you can shake a Schrödinger’s cat at. It is a joy to untangle. There is one moment early on that puzzled me a little but then a bit later on, when I’d been fully immersed in this curious universe, I had a Eureka moment! I’d worked it out. It’s worth taking your time to unravel this fabulous, gorgeously written narrative. It most definitely rewards.
I’m a huge fan of technothrillers, of clever puzzlers that tease with quantum physics, shifting time, conundrums and paradoxes. Recursion has all of these along with main characters that I really felt for, especially scientist Helena, a woman who goes through so much and still finds time to love, and Barry who is so brave when faced with losing everything. I loved this book and I urge you to read it and discover its strange, tortured and shattered world for yourself.