Kyle's debut novel is a contemporary science-fiction thriller built around a middle-aged woman's life-changing choice to help a desperate young man.
Brigid Sullivan is divorced, depressed, and working as a telemarketer to pay the bills for her Alzheimer-afflicted mother's medical care. When she spots a hitchhiker in midwinter, she takes a chance and gives a stranger a ride—sending her predictable life into chaos. For Jason is an escapee from a secretive research lab who has the ability to shift into alternate realities. He's also on the run, and soon, the bad guys appear at Brigid's home, looking for Jason. Thanks to Brigid's emotional support dog, Lithium, and her own willingness to beat up a home intruder, the attacker is driven off, but this is the start of Brigid's new, dangerous life. As she and Jason flee from the police and more ominous forces, Brigid learns about Jason's powers and his traumatic history. While Jason wrestles with fear, guilt, and the physical side effects of his powers, Brigid rises to the crisis with strengths she didn't know she possessed. When Jason is recaptured, it's up to Brigid to find allies, expose the project, and free Jason and everyone else. For his part, Jason will finally learn the purpose that the project's current managers have been hiding, but will the truth ultimately destroy him? The stakes and the villains throughout remain realistic and believable, and Brigid's aggressive normalcy lends her great charm as a protagonist. There's a solid supporting cast as well; even relatively minor characters like Jason's family get strong, poignant moments to shine and to help save the day.
A well-executed debut whose compellingly human cast enriches the standard "parallel universe" science-fiction trope.