*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of NEGALLEY arc #Obscura by #Joe Hart #Brainfluffbookreview #book review


I am a sucker for near future crime and recently there’s been so many excellent examples – so when I read the premise for this offering, I immediately requested it. I’m so glad I did…

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.

That’s as much of the chatty blurb as I’m prepared to reveal, but the brilliant thing about nefarious scheming on a space ship or station on a planet like Mars – everyone is trapped. Gillian is a brilliant, likeable woman with some profound emotional scars after the tragedy that overwhelmed her family – and unlike most of the others on the ship, she isn’t keen to be in space for a moment longer than is necessary. She takes the decision to stay awake and continue working through the voyage to Mars as she is running out of time to find a solution – when she realises that something isn’t right…

She teeters on the edge of meltdown, as the loneliness, her longing to be back with her sick daughter – and her addiction to the medicine she was taking during her recovery from a serious car crash – all take their toll. So when she begins to feel that someone else is also on the ship, she has to accept the fact that she is losing her mind.

Often, when the intense atmosphere is built up in these types of psychological thrillers, once we learn the reason why our protagonist is in such a lather, the whole episode falls rather flat. It’s why this sub-genre isn’t one my favourites – I’ve been disappointed too often. However, that’s not the case in this tightly constructed, beautifully plotted gem. I loved the whole story arc – including the climactic, action-filled denouement. Plus that final amazing twist… I haven’t read any of Hart’s work before – but I’ll be reading more of it in the future if this is an indication of his writing talent. Highly recommended for fans of futuristic murder mystery thrillers. While I obtained an arc of Obscura from the publisher via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.

24 responses »

  1. I’m so happy to see a 10 out of 10 rating! I can’t wait to get started on this, after I finish off a few other books. I’ve been looking for a well done space thriller since I fell in love with Six Wakes, and I’m hoping this will be it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts😁

    • I certainly did. And I’m delighted you enjoyed it, too, Ca:). Though I’m not a re-reader – I could understand why you wouldn’t necessarily wish to plunge back into this one anytime soon…x

  2. Ohhh, good news, indeed! I know what you mean about major buildups in suspense that end up with the proverbial whimper instead of the expected bang, so given that this book manages to reach a very satisfying end, I am even more eager to add it to my “wanted” list.
    Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

  3. I’ve read several great reviews for Ocscura. The premise kind of freaks me out just because it seems pretty plausible but I still really want to read it because it just sounds so gripping.

    • You’re very welcome, Joanna:). I’m glad you enjoy reading them – and for me, it’s a joy that months after I’ve posted an article, someone comes along and still finds it useful…

      • That makes me think… maybe I shouldn’t catch up. 😉 But honestly, I like digging through your archive, including when you back link to your reviews of earlier books in the series.

      • I love your reviews, I truly do!
        Not only they’re a source of interesting reads for me, but I can also trust you to not try to convince me to read a book you loved but might not be right for me – something I really appreciate as I came across many people almost “forcing books down one’s throat” – a topic I meant to cover in a blog post (I probably should get around to it).

      • Thank you for your kind words, Joanna:) I’m very fortunate in that all the book bloggers I encounter are really moderate and have the same outlook. While we all are enthusiastic about the books we love, I think we all recognise that it’s daft to try and foce someone to read outside their interest or comfort zone. After all, I want to encourage people to love reading and books – not put them off!

      • I think book bloggers might be generally of that perspective since they take on writing reviews, reading them, and they have a broader understanding of how preferences play a role in likes/dislikes. Other people might not be as aware of it.
        And yes, well said about the encouragement! ❤

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