(No, you are not suffering from False Memory Syndrome. Yes, Beau reviewed the very same book yesterday, something I didn't know until I went to post this review. Perhaps that is yet another key indicator of how good this book is.)
How often do you read a book in which the last sentence is the perfect end to the story?
Well, I finished one this week, and the last line was awesome.
Recursion by Blake Crouch is a thriller with a huge scoop of science fiction, specifically time travel. It was the most recent selection for my SF book club although I wasn't the chooser. We generally keep our selections within the genre--I actually picked the Sherlock Holmes book The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz--but occasionally we get books like this one. But this is one that really leans into the thriller aspects and it kept me engrossed all the way through.
As the story opens, New York police detective Barry Sutton has lived eleven years without his teenaged daughter who was killed in a hit-and-run accident. He's meeting his now ex-wife to commemorate their daughters birth. There have been a lot of things called False Memory Syndrome, a condition where folks remember whole other lives.
In the reality of the story, these are alternate timelines.
Soon, Barry meets Helena, a scientist with a mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Her goal is to invent a tool that can help map her mom's memories before they are all gone. What another character realizes is that this machine can be used to travel back in time to a specific, vivid memory. And, when a time traveler arrives at the point in time where the traveler actually left, all the other timeline's memories cascade on them...and everyone else.
And there's a race...against time.
I really enjoyed it. Loved it, actually. As recent as this past weekend, I hadn't even started it. I started listening while doing chores...then started finding new chores to do so I could keep listening. The Houston Texans helped by sucking so I stopped watching and started listening to this book. The premise drew me in pretty quickly and just kept me going.
The alternating narrators really worked in the audio. Enjoyed both of them.
Really liked the moments when a certain timeline caught up with a character. When I was explaining this to the wife, what came to mind (but not during the reading) was the end of the movie Frequency back in 2000. Also had lots of echoes to Replay by Ken Grimwood.
Go no further if you don't want the spoiler, so if you don't, I thoroughly enjoyed Recursion and would highly recommend it.
SPOILERS for the end
Lastly, it is very rare that a last line of a book is this awesome, but this one is. Again, this is where listening to an audio version really brought it home. I was standing in line at the DPS on Tuesday. Outside, morning sun, looking at all the other folks doing what I'm doing. Crouch is talking from Barry's POV and building it up to talk to Helena. This is after he's killed the bad to prevent the whole thing from even starting. And he has realized that life has pain and that, as humans, we just have to deal with it.
And then the last line! "And he says...." I barked out a "HA!" as the credits rolled, grinning big time. Loved it! Crouch let the reader finish the story, creating our own, unique timelines.