Normally, I'm skeptical when people say, "Spoilers will ruin the book!" 9/10 times, this is simply not true. But in the case of DARK MATTERS, it's definitely true. Spoilers will ruin the book.
I haven't read too many good science fiction thrillers recently, but DARK MATTERS is one that deserves to be put alongside successes like JURASSIC PARK and THE MARTIAN. It's what THE FOLD wanted to be, but didn't have the wherewithal to accomplish. It's Paycheck, but with a better script.
Jason Dessen is an average guy, living a bit below his means. He's under-employed, but he loves his wife and his kid. Sure, he has regrets, but he's a decent guy, and makes do with what he has.
One day, a man in a geisha mask holds him at gunpoint and after leading him to some kind of abandoned bunker, injects him with drugs and locks him in a room. When Jason wakes up, he's in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by unfamiliar people. They call him by name, but they insist that he's something he's not. And when he gets free...everything has changed.
That's all I'm going to say, because that's all I can say.
Jason is an excellent protagonist. He's loving and ordinary and wants to do the right thing. His emotions get the better of him but never in a terrible way. Much like Mark Watney, you just want the poor guy to catch a break so he can go home. There was never a moment I didn't root for him.
And that was another thing I didn't expect, going in. I wasn't expecting this book to toy with my emotions the way it did. There were moments that were terrifying. I was reading this book in the dark with the lights off, but had to turn them back on because I had this fear that I was no longer alone. There were moments when my heart was in my throat and I couldn't bear to read on. And there were moments that had me crying because the thought of what Jason was experiencing was just so awful.
I wouldn't be surprised if DARK MATTER wins a Goodreads Choice Award when voting starts. It certainly deserves one. And I think it would make an excellent movie, too, for what it's worth.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the advance review copy!
5 out of 5 stars.