Kaptanoglu’s (Last Girl Standing, 2019, etc.) sci-fi–infused novel reveals a mysterious link between a prisoner and an amnesiac scientist who’s stranded on an island.
Rose can’t remember anything about the shipwreck that she experienced—or, indeed, anything else about herself. She’s marooned on an island with a man named Thomas Blackburn, who tells her that she was part of an environmental research group with two other scientists, apparently lost in the wreck. He also updates Rose on current events; according to a report, aliens were approaching Earth when the ship sank. Consequently, when they later see an aircraft fall from the sky, she believes that it’s an alien spacecraft. When they later hear eerie wailing, she fears that an alien with sinister purposes is on the island with them. Rose, however, soon suspects Thomas may be hiding something from her. In a parallel story, Kailey is a young woman who flees her controlling mother. She gets by on the streets by stealing but ultimately is convicted of a far worse crime that someone else committed. Her life in prison is hard, and it’s made worse by an abusive male guard who fixates on her. But then she has an opportunity to escape, thanks to a strange plot turn that connects her with Rose. Kaptanoglu presents a short, briskly paced novel that’s full of entertaining plot twists. Most readers will likely see one major revelation coming before it happens, but the author wisely reveals it well before the book’s halfway point. The details regarding the link between the two main characters, however, are often quite surprising. Kailey’s first-person narration is compelling, personal, and occasionally unreliable, and her desire to earn a pilot’s license makes for a sublime metaphor. The author’s depiction of a women’s correctional facility is also affecting, and Rose’s growing distrust of Thomas—and her recurring nightmares—provide plenty of suspense.
An unconventional, zigzagging story, grounded by energetic characters.