DISCLAIMER: Going into this book blind cranked it up to an 11, so do yourself a favor and stop reading this review and dive right into Dark Matter! Still reading my review? Fine. On a chilly Thursday night, Jason Dessen, a physics professor at a small college, decides to take a detour on his walk home to reflect on what life *could have* been had his life taken a different trajectory; not to say he’s not (mostly) happy with his simple life. His life is flipped upside down when he’s kidnapped at gunpoint and taken to an abandoned warehouse where he’s drugged and eventually wakes up in a world surrounded by people who think he’s… Jason Dessen: renowned scientist! If a wet towel represented my brain and everything I thought I knew was happening, Dark Matter figuratively wrung my brain the whole way through.
Dark Matter has the intrigue of a timeless thriller, the mystique of the metaphysical, and an emotional poignancy that twists the heart. It begins with easy normalcy, with the life of Jason Dessen, a college physics professor who lives in Chicago with his beloved wife and son. From there it careens into a mind-bending and frenzied fight for love and life. I scarfed down this book in one day because that’s how good it is.
This book drew me in from the very beginning and I practically couldn't put it down until the end. The protagonist's trials force you to consider questions old and new. Which experiences make you who you are? What if you had lived your life differently? Are you the best version of yourself? Thrilling, thought-provoking, and emotionally intense—a great summer read.
August 2016 Indie Next List
“Dark Matter is equal parts science fiction, thriller, and theoretical self-examination, complete with an overarching love story. Crouch does a fantastic job of keeping readers grounded while traveling through multiple dimensions, and he offers introspection on how each of the life choices a person makes recreates that person in a new and profound way. I tore through this, waiting for --and finding -- a spectacular conclusion. A must-read!”
— Ed White (E), Hudson Booksellers, Newark, NJ
A mindbending, relentlessly surprising thriller from the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy.
“Are you happy with your life?”
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”
In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. Hiswife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.
Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.
Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.
About the Author
Blake Crouch is best known for the Wayward Pines trilogy, which has sold more than a million copies and was adapted into a prime-time event series on FOX. He lives in Colorado.
“You’ll gulp Dark Matter down in one afternoon, or more likely one night… Alternate-universe science fiction [and] a countdown thriller in which the hero must accomplish an impossible task to save his family. There’s always another door to open, and another page to turn.” —New York Times Book Review
"A mind-blowing sci-fi/suspense/love-story mash-up." —Entertainment Weekly
“A fast, tasty read with a killer twist. It’s a whole bag of barbecue chips…just sitting there waiting for you to devour in one long rush.” —NPR.org
“A hard tale to shake…makes its characters — and readers — wonder what life would have been like had they made different decisions. Relatable and unnerving.” —USA Today
"Propulsive...Dark Matter has plenty of heady concepts and phantasmagorical plotting. But it is also beguilingly rooted in [its hero's] desperate travails, elevating this page-turning adventure into an entirely different dimension." —Entertainment Weekly
“A blockbuster read that channels Michael Crichton… I can’t remember when I last sat down and blew through a book in literally a single sitting.” —The Verge
“A dazzling book for summer [with] a mind-bending premise, a head-spinning plot that’s dialogue-driven and adrenaline-fueled, and a gut-wrenching climax that gave me goose bumps.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Draws on questions and anxieties we all wrestle with in the dark hours...Crouch has invested [sci-fi motifs] with scientific plausibility, and more unusually, with emotional depth." —Wall Street Journal
“Crouch takes a sharp sci-fi premise and infuses it with love…A gripping page-turner [that is] concerned above all with the heart, and what we do to it—or let happen to it—over time. Dark Matter is It’s A Wonderful Life for the 21st century” —AVClub.com
“[A] mind-blowing speculative-science thriller that throws in an old-fashioned love story for good measure.” —Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"Enormously compelling...the fastest, strangest thriller you'll read this year." —Mashable.com
"Might be the most helter-skelter, race-to-the-finish-line thriller you’ll read all year, with a clever, mind-boggling final twist." —The Guardian
"A pacy, action-driven SF thriller...terse prose, strong characterisation and clever twists make for a quick, smart, engrossing read." —Financial Times
"A high-tension thriller...always engaging and frequently moving. A strong piece of summertime get-away reading, perfect for those times when the mind wanders to contemplate an alternate reality of endless vacation." —San Francisco Chronicle
“Exciting, suspenseful and frightening, yet also poignant and heartwarming, DARK MATTER is one of the best books of any year…or any reality.” —Book Reporter
“A mind-bending odyssey of parallel worlds and causality [that] unfolds with all the suspense and strength of a more straightforward thriller, building up to a deliciously surreal climax…memorable and well-rounded characters add a big, beating heart to the tale.” —New York Journal of Books
"Brilliant. A book to remember. I think Blake Crouch just invented something new.” —Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Reacher series
“Exceptional. An exciting, ingeniously plotted adventure about love, regret, and quantum superposition. It’s been a long time since a novel sucked me in and kept me turning pages the way this one did.” —Andy Weir, New York Times bestselling author of The Martian
"A masterful, truly original work of suspense. Crouch delivers laser-focused prose, a plot that melds science fiction and thriller to brilliant effect, and a touching, twisted love story that plays out in ways you'll never see coming. It all adds up to one hell of a ride." —Harlan Coben, New York Times bestselling author of The Stranger
"Wow. I gulped down Dark Matter in one sitting and put it down awed and amazed by the ride. It's fast, smart, addictive-- and the most creative, head-spinning novel I've read in ages. A truly remarkable thriller." —Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of the Rizzoli & Isles series
“A mind-bending thriller of the first order, not merely a rollicking entertainment but a provocative investigation into the nature of second chances, all of it wrapped in a genius sci-fi package. I dare you to put it down, because I sure couldn’t.” —Justin Cronin, New York Times bestselling author of the Passage Trilogy.
“The kind of book the word "thriller" was coined for -- a shooting star through multiple genres, posing fundamental questions about identity and reality before revealing itself as, at its core, a love story. Smart, fast, powerful, and ultimately touching." —Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Guilty Minds and Suspicion
"An addictive read! When the quantum mechanics kick in (no kidding!), hold onto your horses -- you're in for an intelligent, breath-taking ride." —John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author of The Fall and The Oath
“Blake Crouch yet again proves himself to be a master. Nonstop pacing, fascinating characters and an ingenious concept all come together flawlessly in a crescendo of pursuit, danger, and romance all the way to a surprising and satisfying slam-bang conclusion.” —Barry Eisler, New York Times bestselling author of the John Rain series
“Excellent characterization and well-crafted tension…the rousing and heartfelt ending will leave readers cheering.” —Publishers Weekly
“Suspenseful, frightening, and sometimes poignant.” —Kirkus
“Crouch keeps the pace swift and the twists exciting. Readers who liked his Wayward Pines trilogy will probably devour this speculative thriller in one sitting [as will] those who enjoy roller-coaster reads in the vein of Harlan Coben.” —Booklist