A medical thriller offers a twist that will have readers questioning reality alongside its narrator.
A young man wakes up strapped to a hospital bed, unable to speak or, initially, to move. As he drifts in and out of consciousness, the details of his former life are revealed in flashbacks, dreams and conversations (he blinks and writes on a board to communicate) with a fellow patient, Olivia. His name is West, and at age 17 he was a talented dirt-bike racer until an accident left him paralyzed. Through the excruciatingly long days of his recovery, West falls in love with the knowing, sarcastic Olivia even as he acknowledges the depths of her dark side and its root cause—her irreversible ill health. As West considers whether to participate in an experimental surgery that could either kill him or let him walk again, he finds himself at odds with Olivia, who has mysteriously strong feelings of her own about the risks. Although the first-person narration lags a bit in the middle, the last third of the novel is both briskly paced and increasingly eerie as West begins to realize that things are not as they seem.
This outing is a marked departure from Busby’s Date Him or Dump Him series; the twists and turns of West’s relationship with Olivia provide a cloudier and more satisfying kind of suspense. (Thriller. 12-17)