Book Review

Book Review: Good Behavior

good-behavior

Good Behavior
By Blake Crouch

My Edition:
ARC e-book, 288 pages
2016, Thomas & Mercer
IBSN: 9781503940499 (paperback)

Letty Dobesh is fresh out of prison and right back at her old tricks, stealing from hotel suites when she overhears a conversation between a man and the hitman he hired to kill his wife. Letty doesn’t exactly consider herself a good person – she’s estranged from her young son, addicted to alcohol and drugs and is a convicted felon – but she can’t sit back and let the murder happen. Three novellas about Letty’s misadventures give readers a look into a character Crouch created who now has her own TV show.

I loved Dark Matter, so when I saw NetGalley had Good Behavior up for offer I went for it, even though it’s not sci-fi. I did miss the part where this was a novella made up of three short stories, so when the first bit ended I was totally confused. But I went back and re-read the description and all was well.

Letty was immediately intriguing and I always enjoy a good anti-hero and I was able to dive right into the hot mess that is Letty’s life. It’s clear she’s addicted to crime, as well as alcohol and drugs and while I should think of her as a loser, I enjoyed watching her try con her way into and out of trouble.

All three short stories are chronological, so even though there are gaps in time, it does feel almost like a complete novel and I have a good idea of who Letty is. I would definitely read more books about her – I’m hoping there will be a full-length novel at some point.

The edition I read also included notes from Crouch on how each short has been adapted for the TV series that started this fall. While that wasn’t a bonus feature I was particularly excited about, it did give me some insight into the show and I likely won’t be watching it. That might sound like a bad thing, but Blake details how he’s changed some situations and characters to adapt Letty for TV, so the show will be a lot less gritty than the book. What he talks about in his notes makes sense and I appreciate the head’s up, because rather than go into the show expecting something I won’t get and end up disappointed, I can choose not to watch the show, or at least realize I’m not going to get the same vision as the book.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions in this post are my own.
You can visit Blake’s website.

Book Review

Book Review: Dark Matter

Dark Matter
By Blake Crouch

My Edition:
ARC paperback, 340 pages
2016, Crown
ISBN: 9781101904220 (hardcover)
Expected Publication Date: July 26, 2016

Jason Dessen enjoys his life, his time with his family, his job, though maybe he takes these things for granted, as maybe many of us do. Then he’s held at gunpoint, given a mysterious drug, and wakes up in a strange hangar surrounded by unfamiliar people who are very familiar with him. He’s still Jason Dessen, but single, and a successful scientist working on a groundbreaking device that he was the first to successfully navigate. Are his memories of his wife and son merely a dream? Has he gone crazy? Could both lives be real? Jason will go to extreme measures to regain the life he considers to be a reality and make incredible discoveries along the way.

Initial thoughts:

WHOA!

Ahem. Let me compose myself.

Without going into a lot of detail about the plot, I’ll say this book deals with the idea that there are an infinite number of realities (or universes) based on every choice we make, or don’t make, and that versions of ourselves inhabit each of these universes. Jason navigates some of these universes and encounters some of these realities in his quest to return “home.”

I’ll come right out and say I know nothing about the science behind the theory Crouch uses in his book, nor did I understand much of what Jason explained in regards to how it worked, but I’m willing to suspend disbelief and take his word that multiple realities are plausible. Thankfully there isn’t too much jargon, so I didn’t feel overwhelmed and I get the feeling the casual reader isn’t supposed to understand the finer points of how this plays out.

I find it mind boggling to think there could be an infinite number of versions of myself and my life, all similar and yet, so different. If I met my other selves, would I still think of them as me? Would I like what I discovered? What parts of us change based on the myriad of decisions we make daily? Jason wonders what his “essential self” is (personally I’m not sure if something like that can truly be defined) and for his character, his family certainly plays a large part.

But even Jason’s desire to be back with the exact copies of his wife and son that he considers part of “his reality” doesn’t define him. Each iteration of Jason cares for his wife and son, but in different ways, and they behave differently in order to reach them.

The action and pacing were solid. I was hooked from the beginning and couldn’t help but root for “Jason1” as I thought about what would happen if I woke up and my life was suddenly replaced with an alternate version and my family was changed or non-existent.

I don’t often read deeply, but I do get excited when sci-fi (or any genre, I suppose) really gets me thinking and has me questioning my reality. This book doesn’t just address the big choices, like who you married or having a child or not, but the little ones as well, like going to the bar after work or going straight home. From each choice branch new choices, all leading to other realities and versions of yourself that are slightly (or not so slightly) altered.

I am definitely interested in reaching more of Crouch’s work and I highly suggest this action packed book if sci-fi thrillers are what you’re into!

I received this book for free from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions in this post are my own.
You can visit Blake’s website here. He’s also on Twitter and Facebook.