5 out of 5 stars

I have never read a book by Joe Hart before Obscura and I’m pretty mad at myself now.  This is one of the most brilliant books I’ve read in quite some time.  It was real, gritty, and cuts to the heart of a ton of issues that are going on now.

Obscura tells a story of a woman on a mission.  A new form of dementia is affecting people and causing them to lose their memories far too young.  No one knows what causes it, if it’s easily spread, or if it’s curable. Dr. Gillian Ryan is out to try and change that.  Along the way, she is promised something she never thought anyone could get – unlimited funding.  But it comes with a catch.

I would coin this as being a psychological science fiction thriller. Hart wrote a world that is stunning in its description but also simple and easy to understand.  Things are worse – we’re a little into the future and we’ve basically doomed a group of people without even knowing how.

I took care of my grandpa who had dementia and Alzheimers – Hart hits the nail on the head with his description of this new disease and how people react to it.  It was almost hard to listen to at times because I couldn’t imagine watching my wife or someone that I’m intimately close with (like a kid) go through the same issues.  Even the way that Hart had Gillian and her daughter describe it from a kids point of view was chilling. The Fuzzies is a term I won’t soon forget.

I want to spend a lot of time writing about the latter parts of the book but I just can’t.  Hart wrote a book that is like an onion – it had so many different layers to it.  The deeper I got the more I wanted to know.  The way that Obscura is set up, it could have gone a hundred different directions but the ones that Hart went with, making this easily one of the best books I’ve read this year if not ever.  The story itself and the way that Hart weaved science fact in with science fiction was reminiscent of some of my favorite Michael Crichton books.

I had the privilege of listening to this a little early and my wife and I literally finished it during our drive to Washington DC.  We started and finished it in one trip – and sat in silence after it finished because we couldn’t believe just how good the story was.

The narration for Obscura was done by Christina Traister who I thought did a perfect job.  The scenes of paranoia and panic at the mid-point of the book were perfectly voiced with the right amount of emotion and panic in her voice to really nail Gillian as a real person and not just a character in a book.

Overall, Obscura… seriously might be one of the best books I’ve ever read.  I had a feeling I was going to like this book, but wow. I liked it even more than I expected.

Book Description:

She’s felt it before…the fear of losing control. And it’s happening again.

In the near future, an aggressive and terrifying new form of dementia is affecting victims of all ages. The cause is unknown, and the symptoms are disturbing. Dr. Gillian Ryan is on the cutting edge of research and desperately determined to find a cure. She’s already lost her husband to the disease, and now her young daughter is slowly succumbing as well. After losing her funding, she is given the unique opportunity to expand her research. She will travel with a NASA team to a space station where the crew has been stricken with symptoms of a similar inexplicable psychosis—memory loss, trances, and violent, uncontrollable impulses.

Crippled by a secret addiction and suffering from creeping paranoia, Gillian finds her journey becoming a nightmare as unexplainable and violent events plague the mission. With her grip weakening on reality, she starts to doubt her own innocence. And she’s beginning to question so much more—like the true nature of the mission, the motivations of the crew, and every deadly new secret space has to offer.

Merging thrilling science-fiction adventure with mind-bending psychological suspense, Wall Street Journal bestselling author Joe Hart explores both the vast mysteries of outer space and the even darker unknown that lies within ourselves.

Obscura by Joe Hart
Narrator: Christina Traister
Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
Published by Brilliance Audio on May 9th 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction
Pages: 348
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I received this book for free. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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