- Author: Blake Crouch
- Performed by Jon Lindstrom
- Published: August 2016 by Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd
- Category: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Thriller, Love Story
“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.”
Have you ever wondered what your life might be like had you chosen to follow a different path? The author takes the concept of Schrödinger’s cat and parallel universes to create a complex and conjectural science fiction/fantasy story which surprises, horrifies, challenges and gives pause for thought.
Jason Dessen is about to find out how his life could have unfolded had he made different choices. Fifteen years earlier Jason gave up his career as a research scientist and Daniela, his wife, also gave up her burgeoning art career to marry Jason when she became pregnant with their son, Charlie. Daniela now takes students for private art lessons and Jason is a teaching professor at a local college. They have never regretted their decision and are a happy family unit.
I grab my keys and wallet from the ceramic dish beside the microwave and move into the dining room, my gaze alighting on the tesseract chandelier above the dining table. Daniela gave it to me for our tenth wedding anniversary. Best gift ever.
As I reach the door, Daniela shouts, “Return bearing ice cream!”
“Mint chocolate chip!” Charlie says.
I lift my arm, raise my thumb.
I don’t look back.
I don’t say goodbye.
And this moment slips past unnoticed.
The end of everything I know, everything I love.
On his way home from an evening drink with his old friend, Ryan, Jason is abducted at gun point, taken to an abandoned warehouse where he is terrorised and eventually injected with drugs which render him unconscious. When he wakes up he’s strapped to a gurney in a totally unfamiliar world and surrounded by people he doesn’t know but know him. This is not his life. This is not who he is. It’s definitely not what he wants. His life, family, job, house, all gone like they never even existed.
What follows are Jason’s attempts to get back home to Daniela and Charlie. He does everything possible and his journey via various and differing universes is traumatic, hair-raising, shocking and very suspenseful. I couldn’t even attempt to guess how it would pan out, I just had to go with the flow and it was a roller coaster ride. It was easy to sympathise with Jason’s horrific situation, but at the same time hard to wrap my mind around it. The pace never lets up, it’s poignant, a story of choices – taken or not – and the effects of each on a life. This is so much more than going down any rabbit hole. The story gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘me, myself and I.’
A gripping, intriguing and well written story. Jon Lindstrom does an excellent job with the narration.
About Blake Crouch
Blake Crouch is a bestselling novelist and screenwriter. He is the author of the forthcoming novel, Dark Matter, for which he is writing the screenplay for Sony Pictures. His international-bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy was adapted into a television series for FOX, executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan, that was Summer 2015’s #1 show. With Chad Hodge, Crouch also created Good Behavior, the TNT television show starring Michelle Dockery based on his Letty Dobesh novellas. He has written more than a dozen novels that have been translated into over thirty languages and his short fiction has appeared in numerous publications including Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Crouch lives in Colorado with his family.