Obscura by Joe Hart
She’s felt it before…the fear of losing control. And it’s happening again.
In the near future, an aggressive and terrifying new form of dementia is affecting victims of all ages. The cause is unknown, and the symptoms are disturbing. Dr. Gillian Ryan is on the cutting edge of research and desperately determined to find a cure. She’s already lost her husband to the disease, and now her young daughter is slowly succumbing as well. After losing her funding, she is given the unique opportunity to expand her research. She will travel with a NASA team to a space station where the crew has been stricken with symptoms of a similar inexplicable psychosis—memory loss, trances, and violent, uncontrollable impulses.
Crippled by a secret addiction and suffering from creeping paranoia, Gillian finds her journey becoming a nightmare as unexplainable and violent events plague the mission. With her grip weakening on reality, she starts to doubt her own innocence. And she’s beginning to question so much more—like the true nature of the mission, the motivations of the crew, and every deadly new secret space has to offer.
Merging thrilling science-fiction adventure with mind-bending psychological suspense, Wall Street Journal bestselling author Joe Hart explores both the vast mysteries of outer space and the even darker unknown that lies within ourselves.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When I started reading Obscura, I had mixed feelings about the book. For starters, I wasn’t crazy about all the time-jumping. I don’t mind past and present… one or two aren’t bad… but suddenly we’re in different years back and forth, and there’s a couple chapters in different perspectives. In a thriller, we’ve got enough to handle with just one or two ways of delivering information.
At it’s core, though, Obscura is a pretty good book. It has a sort of Michael Crichton sequel flare with elements of the science discussed in The Andromeda Strain and Timeline, but the characters have better depth than some of Crichton’s books. For me, the difference was in the believability. When dealing with a murderer and discussing complex scientific subjects, it”s usually best to focus one thing and put everything into it. Hart balances between talking about an Alzheimer’s-esque disease and teleportation. On their own, they’re both interesting and workable in a novel like this. However, when you put them together and add murder, there isn’t enough content on any one thing. I would have liked to see a bit more information, research, and experimentation on either of the scientific topics.
I ended up enjoying Obscura more than I thought I would. It reminded me of Michael Crichton, and it also reminded me of Dan Brown. I don’t read many thrillers, but this one is definitely worth picking up if you stumble across it. It’s interesting and gripping.