What’s Ashley Reading?: Upgrade

Upgrade by Blake Crouch

First line: We found Henrik Soren at a wine bar in the international terminal, thirty minutes from boarding a hyperjet to Tokyo.

Summary: Logan Ramsay is a part of the Gene Protection Agency. He spends his days hunting down scientists and criminals who are using gene technology to enhance or harm the world’s population. However, after a raid that leaves him in intensive care he starts to notice changes to his body and mind. It appears that the explosion at the raid infected him with a gene altering substance that appears to be upgrading his DNA. But the government will not let him continue living as a regular citizen which leads him to make the decision to run for his life.

My Thoughts: Blake Crouch writes a solid story. I do not understand the science behind the plot but the story is always fast moving and thrilling. The story appears to take place in the near future which gives the story a feeling of reality. We have been living through a pandemic and racing to find cures. I can see how easy it would be to rely on science to change humans to survive as the world around us is falling apart. It seems hopeful but Crouch shows that behind every bright spot there is a dark underbelly. As with his other stories I flew through this and cannot wait for his next sci-fi thriller!

FYI: Read his other books if you have not yet. Dark Matter is a book I have recommended many times for its instant action and thrilling plot.

What’s Ashley Reading?: Recursion

Recursion by Blake Crouch

First line: Barry Sutton pulls 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.

Summary: Barry Sutton is a New York cop who witnesses the tragic effects of False Memory Syndrome when a woman jumps from the forty first floor of a skyscraper.

Helena Smith is a researcher looking for a way to save and record memories to help Alzheimer patients.

As the world around them begins to unravel because of the mysterious FMS, they must team up to try and learn how to stop the phenomenon from continuing to plague the world. If they cannot not it can lead to the possible end of the world.

My Thoughts: From the very first page this story is off and running. There is no build up or major character development in the first twenty pages like most novels. Crouch puts us immediately into the story. This is by far one of my favorite parts of his writing. It is very easy to lose interest in a book that drags its story out too long.

When we meet Barry we also hear about False Memory Syndrome but it is not really explained. For a while it was difficult to understand what is happening to those that are affected. However, once I understood what the disease entailed it became obvious why it could be terrifying to contract.

There are several time hops which makes it very important to pay attention to the dates at the beginning of each new section.

I love how fast paced his story telling is. I was on the edge of my seat throughout.

I was never very good with science. Give me history or literature any day. Even though Recursion is very much a science fiction thriller it was not bogged down by the technicalities. When I tried reading The Martian by Andy Weir, the science is what killed the book for me. I just did not get it. But Crouch does a great job of having it as part of the story but not making it overwhelming for the everyday reader.

I cannot say enough good things about this book. Just give it a try. It is worth every minute you spend reading it.

FYI: Pick up Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. It is just as thrilling!