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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.
Crippled by a secret addiction and suffering from creeping paranoia, Gillian finds her journey becoming a nightmare as unexplainable and violent events plague the mission. With her grip weakening on reality, she starts to doubt her own innocence. And she’s beginning to question so much more—like the true nature of the mission, the motivations of the crew, and every deadly new secret space has to offer.
Merging thrilling science-fiction adventure with mind-bending psychological suspense, Wall Street Journal bestselling author Joe Hart explores both the vast mysteries of outer space and the even darker unknown that lies within ourselves.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Wayne on 05-14-18
The troubles with the Fuzzies!
Obscura is a combination of science fiction and psychological thriller. It is set only one decade into the future. I'm not usually a fan of author Joe Hart, but I like this novel a lot; it is a very special story. The publisher's summary does a nice job of setting up the plot, but if you want more read the outstanding review by Brian of Niagara Falls, NY. The narration by Christina Traister is perfect for this novel. I've listened to several other books she has narrated, mostly those by Mary Burton. She is really, really good.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
By Brian on 05-08-18
I have never read a book by Joe Hart before Obscura and I’m pretty mad at myself now. This is one of the most brilliant books I’ve read in quite some time. It was real, gritty, and cuts to the heart of a ton of issues that are going on now.
Obscura tells a story of a woman on a mission. A new form of dementia is affecting people and causing them to lose their memories far too young. No one knows what causes it, if it’s easily spread, or if it’s curable. Dr. Gillian Ryan is out to try and change that. Along the way, she is promised something she never thought anyone could get – unlimited funding. But it comes with a catch.
I would coin this as being a psychological science fiction thriller. Hart wrote a world that is stunning in its description but also simple and easy to understand. Things are worse – we’re a little into the future and we’ve basically doomed a group of people without even knowing how.
I took care of my grandpa who had dementia and Alzheimers – Hart hits the nail on the head with his description of this new disease and how people react to it. It was almost hard to listen to at times because I couldn’t imagine watching my wife or someone that I’m intimately close with (like a kid) go through the same issues. Even the way that Hart had Gillian and her daughter describe it from a kids point of view was chilling. The Fuzzies is a term I won’t soon forget.
I want to spend a lot of time writing about the latter parts of the book but I just can’t. Hart wrote a book that is like an onion – it had so many different layers to it. The deeper I got the more I wanted to know. The way that Obscura is set up, it could have gone a hundred different directions but the ones that Hart went with, making this easily one of the best books I’ve read this year if not ever. The story itself and the way that Hart weaved science fact in with science fiction was reminiscent of some of my favorite Michael Crichton books.
I had the privilege of listening to this a little early and my wife and I literally finished it during our drive to Washington DC. We started and finished it in one trip – and sat in silence after it finished because we couldn’t believe just how good the story was.
The narration for Obscura was done by Christina Traister who I thought did a perfect job. The scenes of paranoia and panic at the mid-point of the book were perfectly voiced with the right amount of emotion and panic in her voice to really nail Gillian as a real person and not just a character in a book.
Overall, Obscura… seriously might be one of the best books I’ve ever read. I had a feeling I was going to like this book, but wow. I liked it even more than I expected.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Anonymous User on 06-03-18
Expected horror, got sci-fi psychological thriller
I wasn't sure what to expect coming into this one, it promised terror in space on the blurb and it delivered it just not in the mode I expected. Set in the dire times of near future, it keeps most of it's cards close to it's chest early on. The protagonist is a woman haunted by her past and seperated from her dying child, she is in a constant state of stress as she is whisked off her feet into a situation that is continually growing in complexity and paranoia. This growing mental stress gives the story momentum and unpredictability, but I feel like she makes a few questionable decisions during the first half that come back to haunt her.
At the beginning of the second half, the relationships and dynamics between the characters are turned on their head and after the dust settles, some clear goals are in sight. A mystery that started to grow towards the end of the first half now becomes a focus point to be uncovered with some of the results quite unnerving, some moments of sheer terror shaking things up when things almost become routine.
Towards the end, this mystery becomes a runaway frieght train driving the pacing towards a horrific climatic close. Because of the focus on more how characters are reacting to each other over specific and unnatural phenomena, to me it feels more like a thriller than a horror novel with a shift towards more contemporary horror in the last quarter.
Characters were excellent, many having ambiguous motives that shift over the course of the novel and a suprisingly endearing platonic relationship between a man and a woman that really moved me. During the climax of the story, people reveal their true colours in suprising ways and I enjoyed these developments.
Since I'm not so familiar with the thriller genre as much as horror, I'm not sure where to place it but I did enjoy it for most part. It's an easy 3.5 to 4 on the story and a 3.5 on the narration, I enjoyed Christina's female charaters and some of her male ones but I got a bit mixed up with characters using more gravelly masculine tones that sounded a bit too similar.
I would recommend this book to fans of thrillers who also enjoy their sci-fi grounded in reality. Fans of horror will love the suspense, pacing and atmosphere but may not find extraordinary elements that really push the story into uncharted waters, so I would tentatively endorse it to them.