A troubled ghostwriter’s past may be the key to an explosive secret.
Life hasn’t been the same for Jake Buchannan since the accident that seriously injured his 8-year-old daughter, Em, and drove a wedge between him and his wife, Abby. Jake just hopes that his new job writing the memoirs of a mysterious and wealthy Colorado man will at least ensure they can pay for Em’s medical bills. When he meets former teacher Clara Stowe on his flight to Denver, he’s instantly drawn to her. Small talk turns to something more profound when Clara reveals that she plans to kill herself at the site of two mountain peaks, Aspen’s Maroon Bells. And that’s not all. Clara was adopted as a child, as was Jake, and neither can remember their childhoods before they were adopted. It’s enough to convince Jake that they’ve met for a reason, and he implores Clara to contact him if she needs him. Through alternating narratives, it’s revealed that Clara and Jake were both invited by a mysterious man named Landis to take part in a clinical trial designed to help them unlock memories and meet their full potential. Both were given an evocative, illustrated book and a vial of pills and have gone through various changes in the months since, such as heightened empathy for Jake and Clara’s self-imposed isolation and fascination with death. When Jake is approached by a woman claiming that Landis isn’t quite what he seems, he finds himself in a relentless quest for the truth that just might kill him. Wilson (Mr. Tender’s Girl, 2018, etc.) explores how good intentions and hubris can lead down dark paths while tackling themes of sorrow, guilt, and the intoxicating power of memory and human connection with equal aplomb. He even throws in a murder mystery for good measure and delivers a denouement that is both strangely sad and exceedingly creepy. Dean Koontz fans in particular will find a lot to enjoy.
A disturbing, propulsive, and satisfying thriller. Wilson is an author to watch.