Cover image for Recursion a novel.
Title:
Recursion a novel.
Publication Information:
2019.
ISBN:
9781524759803
Physical Description:
1 online resource
Language:
English
Abstract:
From the New York Times bestselling author of Dark Matter and the Wayward Pines trilogy comes a relentless thriller about time, identity, and memory--his most ambitious, mind-boggling, irresistible work to date."An action-packed, brilliantly unique ride that had me up late and shirking responsibilities until I had devoured the last page . . . a fantastic read."--Andy Weir, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The MartianMemory makes reality. That's what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome--a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It's why she's dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent. As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease--a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them? Advance praise for Recursion"Blake Crouch has invented his own brand of page-turner--fearlessly genre-bending, consistently surprising, and determined to explode the boundaries of what a thriller can be."--Karin Slaughter, #1 internationally bestselling author of Pieces of Her "Brilliant. Crouch's innovative novels never fail to grip!"--Sarah Pekkanen, #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of The Wife Between Us and An Anonymous Girl "A masterful mind-bender of a novel. Crouch brilliantly infuses his story with dire repercussions and unexpected moral upheaval, and leaves you wondering what you would do if you had the chance to turn back the clock."--Mark Sullivan, #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of the Private series and author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky
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Summary

Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * From the bestselling author of Dark Matter and the Wayward Pines trilogy comes a relentless thriller about time, identity, and memory--his most ambitious, mind-boggling, irresistible work to date, and the inspiration for Shondaland's upcoming Netflix film.

"An action-packed, brilliantly unique ride that had me up late and shirking responsibilities until I had devoured the last page . . . a fantastic read."--Andy Weir, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Martian

Memory makes reality. That's what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome--a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It's why she's dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease--a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?

Praise for Recursion

"Blake Crouch has invented his own brand of page-turner--fearlessly genre-bending, consistently surprising, and determined to explode the boundaries of what a thriller can be." --Karin Slaughter, #1 internationally bestselling author of Pieces of Her

"Brilliant. Crouch's innovative novels never fail to grip!" --Sarah Pekkanen, #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of The Wife Between Us and An Anonymous Girl

"A masterful mind-bender of a novel. Crouch brilliantly infuses his story with dire repercussions and unexpected moral upheaval, and leaves you wondering what you would do if you had the chance to turn back the clock." --Mark Sullivan, #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of the Private series and author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Cutting-edge science drives this intelligent, mind-bending thriller from bestseller Crouch (Dark Matter). Neuroscientist Helena Smith, whose mother has dementia, has devoted herself to studying the biology of memory. She seeks "a way to save memories for deteriorating brains that can no longer retrieve them." Her struggle to find grants for her work ends in 2007 when inventor and philanthropist Marcus Slade offers her carte blanche to pursue her work on his facility located on a repurposed oil rig in the Pacific Ocean-unlimited funding, whatever computing power she needs, and a team of highly skilled scientists. Helena's research leads to some disturbing results. Meanwhile, in 2018 Manhattan, a woman jumps to her death from a tall building after telling the NYPD detective trying to save her that she has false memories of being married to a man whose first wife jumped from the same building 15 years earlier. Crouch effortlessly integrates sophisticated philosophical concepts-such as the relationship of human perceptions of what is real to actual reality-into a complex and engrossing plot. Michael Crichton's fans won't want to miss this one. Agent: David Hale Smith, InkWell Management. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Kirkus Review

In Crouch's sci-fi-driven thriller, a machine designed to help people relive their memories creates apocalyptic consequences. In 2018, NYPD Detective Barry Sutton unsuccessfully tries to talk Ann Voss Peters off the edge of the Poe Building. She claims to have False Memory Syndrome, a bewildering condition that seems to be spreading. People like Ann have detailed false memories of other lives lived, including marriages and children, but in "shades of gray, like film noir stills." For some, like Ann, an overwhelming sense of loss leads to suicide. Barry knows loss: Eleven years ago, his 15-year-old daughter, Meghan, was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Details from Ann's story lead him to dig deeper, and his investigation leads him to a mysterious place called Hotel Memory, where he makes a life-altering discovery. In 2007, a ridiculously wealthy philanthropist and inventor named Marcus Slade offers neuroscientist Helena Smith the chance of a lifetime and an unlimited budget to build a machine that allows people to relive their memories. He says he wants to "change the world." Helena hopes that her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's, will benefit from her passion project. The opportunity for unfettered research is too tempting to turn down. However, when Slade takes the research in a controversial direction, Helena may have to destroy her dream to save the world. Returning to a few of the themes he explored in Dark Matter (2016), Crouch delivers a bullet-fast narrative and raises the stakes to a fever pitch. A poignant love story is woven in with much food for thought on grief and the nature of memories and how they shape us, rounding out this twisty and terrifying thrill ride.An exciting, thought-provoking mind-bender. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

In 2007, neuroscientist Helena Smith invents a ""memory chair,"" a device that can capture the memory of a specific event and then reintroduce that memory into a person's brain on command. Her aim is to help Alzheimer's patients, including her beloved mother. But the wealthy tech magnate who has the funds to make the chair a reality has more sinister motives. Come 2018, the world sees those motives in action: people are afflicted with False Memory Syndrome (FMS), in which they suddenly wake up one day with a new set of memories of a different life. These memories compete with their current ""real"" life and drive people mad. But are the new memories indeed false? Or are they evidence of the chair enabling time travel? New York detective Barry Sutton investigates an FMS suicide and finds himself entrenched in a past, present, and future he never could have imagined. Crouch fills his follow-up to Dark Matter (2016) with mind-bending science, mounting suspense, and some romance. Readers may have to accept that they might not get the physics of what's going on, but, in a peculiar way, that's part of the fun.--Rebecca Vnuk Copyright 2019 Booklist


Library Journal Review

Scientist Helena Smith focused on memory research when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, hoping to enable others with memory loss to record their recollections and retain connections to their lives and loved ones. She did not anticipate that the technology her team developed would allow users to travel back into those memories and change the entire fabric of reality. The results of their invention begin to manifest as False Memory Syndrome (FMS), which causes additional sets of memories suddenly to appear and coexist simultaneously (not always comfortably) in people's minds. Det. Barry Sutton is drawn to investigate the phenomenon and its origins when he fails to prevent the suicide of an FMS victim. He and Helena join forces to find a way to save humanity from the monstrous creation. VERDICT This latest technological thriller from Crouch (Dark Matter) is completely engrossing and should have wide appeal. Highly recommended, especially for readers who enjoy suspenseful, fast-moving, well-crafted, science-based sf. [See Prepub Alert, 12/6/18.]-Karin Thogersen, Huntley Area P.L., IL © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Barry November 2, 2018 Barry Sutton pulls over into the fire lane at the main entrance of the Poe Building, an Art Deco tower glowing white in the illumination of its exterior sconces. He climbs out of his Crown Vic, rushes across the sidewalk, and pushes through the revolving door into the lobby. The night watchman is standing by the bank of elevators, holding one open as Barry hurries toward him, his shoes echoing off the marble. "What floor?" Barry asks as he steps into the elevator car. "Forty-one. When you get up there, take a right and go all the way down the hall." "More cops will be here in a minute. Tell them I said to hang back until I give a signal." The elevator races upward, belying the age of the building around it, and Barry's ears pop after a few seconds. When the doors finally part, he moves past a sign for a law firm. There's a light on here and there, but the floor stands mostly dark. He runs along the carpet, passing silent offices, a conference room, a break room, a library. The hallway finally opens into a reception area that's paired with the largest office. In the dim light, the details are all in shades of gray. A sprawling mahogany desk buried under files and paperwork. A circular table covered in notepads and mugs of cold, bitter-smelling coffee. A wet bar stocked with expensive-looking bottles of scotch. A glowing aquarium that hums on the far side of the room and contains a small shark and several tropical fish. As Barry approaches the French doors, he silences his phone and removes his shoes. Taking the handle, he eases the door open and slips out onto the terrace. The surrounding skyscrapers of the Upper West Side look mystical in their luminous shrouds of fog. The noise of the city is loud and close--car horns ricocheting between the buildings and distant ambulances racing toward some other tragedy. The pinnacle of the Poe Building is less than fifty feet above--a crown of glass and steel and gothic masonry. The woman sits fifteen feet away beside an eroding gargoyle, her back to Barry, her legs dangling over the edge. He inches closer, the wet flagstones soaking through his socks. If he can get close enough without detection, he'll drag her off the edge before she knows what-- "I smell your cologne," she says without looking back. He stops. She looks back at him, says, "Another step and I'm gone." It's difficult to tell in the ambient light, but she appears to be in the vicinity of forty. She wears a dark blazer and matching skirt, and she must have been sitting out here for a while, because her hair has been flattened by the mist. "Who are you?" she asks. "Barry Sutton. I'm a detective in the Central Robbery Division of NYPD." "They sent someone from the Robbery--?" "I happened to be closest. What's your name?" "Ann Voss Peters." "May I call you Ann?" "Sure." "Is there anyone I can call for you?" She shakes her head. "I'm going to step over here so you don't have to keep straining your neck to look at me." Barry moves away from her at an angle that also brings him to the parapet, eight feet down from where she's sitting. He glances once over the edge, his insides contracting. "All right, let's hear it," she says. "I'm sorry?" "Aren't you here to talk me off? Give it your best shot." He decided what he would say riding up in the elevator, recalling his suicide training. Now, squarely in the moment, he feels less confident. The only thing he's sure of is that his feet are freezing. "I know everything feels hopeless to you in this moment, but this is just a moment, and moments pass." Ann stares straight down the side of the building, four hundred feet to the street below, her palms flat against the stone that has been weathered by decades of acid rain. All she would have to do is push off. He suspects she's walking herself through the motions, tiptoeing up to the thought of doing it. Amassing that final head of steam. He notices she's shivering. "May I give you my jacket?" he asks. "I'm pretty sure you don't want to come any closer, Detective." "Why is that?" "I have FMS." Barry resists the urge to run. Of course he's heard of False Memory Syndrome, but he's never known or met someone with the affliction. Never breathed the same air. He isn't sure he should attempt to grab her now. Doesn't even want to be this close. No, f*** that. If she moves to jump, he'll try to save her, and if he contracts FMS in the process, so be it. That's the risk you take becoming a cop. "How long have you had it?" he asks. "One morning, about a month ago, instead of my home in Middlebury, Vermont, I was suddenly in an apartment here in the city, with a stabbing pain in my head and a terrible nosebleed. At first, I had no idea where I was. Then I remembered . . . this life too. Here and now, I'm single, an investment banker, I live under my maiden name. But I have . . ."--she visibly braces herself against the emotion--"memories of my other life in Vermont. I was a mother to a nine-year-old boy named Sam. I ran a landscaping business with my husband, Joe Behrman. I was Ann Behrman. We were as happy as anyone has a right to be." "What does it feel like?" Barry asks, taking a clandestine step closer. "What does what feel like?" "Your false memories of this Vermont life." "I don't just remember my wedding. I remember the fight over the design for the cake. I remember the smallest details of our home. Our son. Every moment of his birth. His laugh. The birthmark on his left cheek. His first day of school and how he didn't want me to leave him. But when I try to picture Sam, he's in black and white. There's no color in his eyes. I tell myself they were blue. I only see black. "All my memories from that life are in shades of gray, like film noir stills. They feel real, but they're haunted, phantom memories." She breaks down. "Everyone thinks FMS is just false memories of the big moments of your life, but what hurts so much more are the small ones. I don't just remember my husband. I remember the smell of his breath in the morning when he rolled over and faced me in bed. How every time he got up before I did to brush his teeth, I knew he'd come back to bed and try to have sex. That's the stuff that kills me. The tiniest, perfect details that make me know it happened." "What about this life?" Barry asks. "Isn't it worth something to you?" "Maybe some people get FMS and prefer their current memories to their false ones, but there's nothing about this life I want. I've tried, for four long weeks. I can't fake it anymore." Tears carve trails through her eyeliner. "My son never existed. Do you get that? He's just a beautiful misfire in my brain." Barry ventures another step toward her, but she catches him this time. "Don't come any closer." "You are not alone." "I am very f***ing alone." "I've only known you a few minutes, and I will be devastated if you do this. Think about the people in your life who love you. Think how they'll feel." "I tracked Joe down," Ann says. "Who?" "My husband. He was living in a mansion out on Long Island. He acted like he didn't recognize me, but I know he did. He had a whole other life. He was married--I don't know to who. I don't know if he had kids. He acted like I was crazy." "I'm sorry, Ann." "This hurts too much." "Look, I've been where you are. I've wanted to end everything. And I'm standing here right now telling you I'm glad I didn't. I'm glad I had the strength to ride it out. This low point isn't the book of your life. It's just a chapter." "What happened to you?" "I lost my daughter. Life has broken my heart too." Ann looks at the incandescent skyline. "Do you have photos of her? Do you still talk with people about her?" "Yes." "At least she once existed." There is simply nothing he can say to that. Ann looks down through her legs again. She kicks off one of her pumps.  Watches it fall. Then sends the other one plummeting after it. "Ann, please." "In my previous life, my false life, Joe's first wife, Franny, jumped from this building, from this ledge actually, fifteen years ago. She had clinical depression. I know he blamed himself. Before I left his house on Long Island, I told Joe I was going to jump from the Poe Building tonight, just like Franny. It sounds silly and desperate, but I hoped he'd show up here tonight and save me. Like he failed to do for her. At first, I thought you might be him, but he never wore cologne." She smiles--wistful--then adds, "I'm thirsty." Barry glances through the French doors and the dark office, sees two patrolmen standing at the ready by the reception desk. He looks back at Ann. "Then why don't you climb down from there, and we'll walk inside together and get you a glass of water." "Would you bring it to me out here?" "I can't leave you." Her hands are shaking now, and he registers a sudden resolve in her eyes. She looks at Barry. "This isn't your fault," she says. "It was always going to end this way." "Ann, no--" "My son has been erased." And with a casual grace, she eases herself off the edge. Excerpted from Recursion by Blake Crouch All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.