Book Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch

Recursion-cover-1263x1920Helena Smith’s mother is suffering from Alzheimer’s and she wants nothing more than to bring back her mother’s precious memories. So she begins experimenting with a new technology that will preserve special moments in life while also allowing them to relive learning to drive, getting married, the birth of their children or the last few moments with a loved one who is about to pass over into the afterlife.

Through her research and efforts, “the chair” is created. It can send you back to different memories in time, creating new timelines and erasing past mistakes or events. The only problem is, Helena’s boss isn’t using it for the purpose she intended and instead of doing good, her technological advancement is wreaking havoc on the current timeline of the world.

NYC cop Barry Sutton stumbles upon Helena’s invention while investigating False Memory Syndrome – a condition that’s causing people to kill themselves based on memories of lives they never thought they experienced. Unknown to them, their jolting memories, which return to them once they’ve reached the moment in time the original event was altered, are a side effect of someone else in their life using “the chair” to undo some event in the past.

The general public doesn’t know about “the chair” – only Helena and a few other researchers, and their subjects are poached off the street by Helena’s boss, Marcus Slade.

Soon the government will get involved and that opens a whole new Pandora’s Box. They start small by jumping timelines to undo school shootings or horrific criminal acts and soon, top officials want to eradicate past events like the Holocaust.

Recursion is a stellar follow up to sci-fi writer Blake Crouch’s thriller Dark Matter. There’s a lot to keep track of with the shifting timelines, but once you get used to it, it’s not hard understand where our characters are in the story line.

In addition to the face paced writing style, Crouch challenges readers to think about if changing the past really would really be for the moral good and if the human race can ever be trusted to carry that out if the technology is ever invented.

Easily one of the best books I’ve read all year, Recursion should be at the top of your reading list. Netflix has already optioned it for a film/TV series with Shonda Rimes’ production company to produce.

 

Five Books Set in Indiana You HAVE to Read

When you think about the Hoosier state, you probably don’t think about books – after all we’re generally known for the Indianapolis 500, basketball and corn. But there have been some great stories set here and many are by Hoosiers themselves!

Here are five titles set in Indiana that everyone should read.

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Last Words by Michael Koryta

Ten years ago, Sarah Martin, a teenage girl from Garrison, Indiana disappeared inside a rural Indiana cave. Her boyfriend swore she was right behind him, but can’t recall what happened in the inky darkness and ultimately, only one teen emerged that day. No one is able to find her except for Ridley Barnes, a seasoned explorer who surfaced with her lifeless body a few days after the incident.  Barnes has no memory of where or how he found her and everyone in the small town believes he’s responsible for her death. But with no evidence to prove his involvement, the Garrison police department has no choice but to release Barnes.

Markus Novak, a private investigator from Florida, is sent to re-open the case and see if he can solve the ten-year-old mystery of Sarah Martin’s death. He’s not particularly interested in a case that’s gone cold, but his job is on the line and if he can’t prove to his boss that he can work on something other than his own wife’s death, he’ll likely lose his job. But the people of Garrison seem to distrust Novak even more than Barnes and it’s not until Novak himself gets trapped in the cave that the pieces of the puzzle start fitting together.

Written by Bloomington native Michael Koryta, Last Words is a suspenseful and engrossing read that will appeal to fans crime mysteries. Indiana natives will recognize the setting in the book from the Indiana Cave Trail network of caves.

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Hazel and Gus meet in a support group for kids with cancer, which is not the most romantic of places to find the love of your life.

Yet the two bond over books; one title,  An Imperial Affliction, especially connects them and Gus surprises Hazel with tickets to Amsterdam to meet the author so they can find out why he ended the story the way he did.

Set in Indianapolis, Indiana, The Fault in Our Stars is both delightful and heartbreaking at the same time, painting a very real picture of what life can be like for teens who suffer from cancer.

John Green lives in Indianapolis, which serves as the backdrop for several of his young adult novels. Many of the places in his books are real places in the Circle City and even though the movie version was not filmed here, it can be fun to go looking for all the places Hazel and Gus hung out in the novel.

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Come and Get Me by August Norman

Award-winning journalist Caitlin Bergman returns to Indiana University to accept an award, and she’s not exactly thrilled to be back in the town that holds some haunting memories from her college years.

When a young college student goes missing, Caitlin become involved in the case and is forced to confront her own trauma, dealing with the same police force that screwed her case up years ago.

Loosely based on the Lauren Spierer case that still remains unsolved today,  Come and Get Me is a must read. Hoosiers will enjoy the setting – all the places in the book are very real, and if you’re familiar with Bloomington at all, you will likely have a clear picture painted in your head as the events in the story unfold.

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Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

While the World’s Fair is being built in Chicago, H.H. Holmes is building his murder house a few blocks away.

Holmes murdered at least twenty-seven people, defrauded countless others and investigators were horrified to find gas chambers, sound proof rooms and torture tables when they raided his building.

Based on the true story of one of America’s most infamous serial killers, Devil in the White City isn’t set in Indiana for most of the book but it has strong ties to the state.

Holmes’ third wife was from Franklin, Indiana (the town where I work!) and for a short time, lived in Indianapolis while the police were pursing him. Here, he committed one of his last murders in a home in Irvington, and it was a gruesome one.

I included this one since it has strong ties to the Hoosier state and interest should peak in the next few years with the adaptation of the true crime non-fiction title into a Hulu mini series produced by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

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Teen Idol by Meg Cabot

Jen Greenley is kinda famous – everyone always wants to know what she’s wearing, who she’s with and where she’s going next.

But when the school administration asks her to befriend a new student, who happens to be an undercover Hollywood movie star, she’s about to find out she’s not the only “teen idol” at her high school.

Bloomington, Indiana native Meg Cabot is the GOAT when it comes to YA/teen lit. The author behind book-to-movie classics such as “The Princess Diaries”, her charming and witty style make for light reads.

Teen Idol is set in the Hoosier state and it was also the author’s first stand alone novel after writing several series.

 

 

 

Book Review: Say You’re Sorry

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Say You’re Sorry by Karen Rose

While walking home one night, Daisy Dawson is attacked, but manages to fight the perpetrator, swiping a necklace and some skin cells off under her nails in the process. What she doesn’t know is that her would be kidnapper is a serial killer, and she’s the only victim that has gotten away.

Daisy has a high profile public job, so it doesn’t take long for her attacker to figure out her identity. Enraged that he wasn’t able to capture her the first time, her assailant begins stalking her and Special Agent Gideon Reynolds, who’s been assigned to protect her.

While he’s stalking her, he’s also kidnapping and murdering other women, collecting necklaces and drivers licenses as trophy pieces once he’s done with them. However, one of his victims isn’t about to give up; she begins memorizing every name and is determined to break out of the prison he has set up in his basement.

As the detectives begin to piece together clues about the case, they uncover details linking the assailant to someone from Agent Reynolds past, and in order to catch a killer, Reynolds and Daisy take off on an interstate adventure that brims with romance, action, murder and mystery.

There’s a little something for everyone in this romantic suspense from Karen Rose and even though it’s over 600 pages, it’s a quick read that you’ll have a hard time putting down.

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Book Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

“In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the slayer.”

Welcome back to the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer…minus Buffy. In Kiersten White’s new young adult series set in the same universe, Buffy may be gone but a new slayer is picking up where season 8 ended. (For those unfamiliar with season 8, that’s because it exists in comic book form instead of on TV)

Nina and her twin sister Artemis have grown up in the Watchers Academy where they are trained to act as guides to the slayers. The girls’ mother serves on the Watcher’s Council alongside some familiar Watcher families, and Nina really wants no part of the lifestyle. Artemis has always seemed born for the storm, not her.

To top it off, Nina’s hatred of Buffy runs deep – when Buffy destroyed magic, it prevented witches from using their powers, ended the slayer line and also deeply impacted Nina’s life in more ways than one. So when it’s Nina instead of Artemis that begins to manifest slayer powers, it’s a shock to everyone at the Watchers Academy. And she really, really does not want to become a slayer.

In the first few chapters, White does a great job of catching up readers who might be unfamiliar with the Buffyverse and even though this is an original story, it fits in nicely with the tone the TV show set for it.

And just because Buffy is gone, she’s definitely not forgotten; her presence can be felt in a big way within the story, especially when Nina and her friends start taking down demons and vampires.

Slayer kicks off a new and exciting young adult series that should appeal to fantasy fans even if they didn’t grow up watching BTVS. A solid first effort.

 

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Me at Buffy’s House in Torrence, CA