Dark Matter: A Novel (Paperback)

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Dark Matter: A Novel By Blake Crouch Cover Image
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(Sci-Fi / Fantasy)

Staff Reviews

Not a scifi fan? You will be after reading Blake Crouch's mind-bending, science fiction, thriller love story, "Dark Matter." It's the type of novel you fall into and dread the day you have to put it down. It will twist your sense of the possible and leave you contemplating your very existence.

Jason Dessen, a community college professor, was once a rising star in the field of physics until he got his equally talented, artist girlfriend, Daniela, pregnant and chose the alternate path of family and home. Several years later, during family night, he finds himself in his kitchen ruminating with Daniela over the success of his friend, Ryan, who just received the Pavia Award, an award Jason would have surely earned himself had he pursued his career. Though he feels a twinge of regret, he realizes he is happy and he dearly loves both his wife and teenage son. So, with the encouragement of Daniela, he breaks the family night tradition and joins Ryan for a celebratory drink at a local bar before dinner.

It will be a choice with drastic consequences.

At the bar, Jason quickly tires of Ryan's gloating about the award and condescending attitude toward Jason's life choices and heads for home. On his way, he is attacked, taken to an abandoned warehouse and given a powerful injection by a masked man who seems oddly familiar and who insists on asking him questions about his life and happiness. Jason awakens strapped to a table but is surrounded by people who are happy to see that the workaholic, "Dr. Dessen," has returned. Despite the celebratory mood, he is kept under close observation, locked in a room and given few details. It doesn't take long for Jason to decide he needs to escape and find his family.

Thus begins Jason's adventure, and to tell any more of the story would rob the reader of the element of surprise. Delving into the science of choice, Crouch uses two popular theories — Schrödinger's Cat and the Copenhagen Interpretation, to examine the idea that realities do not exist until we conceive of them or experience them and that, for every choice we make, there are an infinite number of instances of our lives existing simultaneously in a reality in which we have made a subtly different choice.

Wrapping one's mind around these concepts as Jason tries desperately to reunite with the family of his memory makes for a heart-pounding thriller that transcends the familiar, ushers readers to unexplored dimensions of infinite possibility and probes the consequences of paths not taken. It is a story of regret, passion, deep love and perseverance in the wake of confusion and profound distress.

This novel is highly recommended and will leave you begging for more.

— From Book review: Sci-fi novel, ‘Dark Matter,’ asks ‘what if?’

Have you ever wondered what direction your life could have taken if you made a different choice? What impact would it have made on your career...or possibly your entire life? After he is kidnapped one night, Jason Dessen finds out in this scifi love story as he desperately searches different dimensions of the present while trying desperately to return to his beloved wife and son. Maybe the grass isn’t always greener on the other side… Also available as an audiobook.

- Recommended by Katie G.

— From November Staff Picks for Bibliophiles

A compelling journey through the multiverse told at a breakneck pace, Dark Matter is an expedition into the human burden of living with the toll of irreversible decisions. Jason, a quantum physicist is living a complacent life of mediocrity with his wife and son as a professor at a local college in Chicago, when one day, he is kidnapped by an unknown assailant, injected with a mind-numbing drug, and thrust into an alternate reality. A reality wherein he pursued academia instead of the love of his life. A reality wherein he cracked the secret to interdimensional travel. Desperate, disoriented, and hopeless, Jason soon discovers that interdimensional travel isn’t as straightforward as he thought and that getting back to his reality will push his mind and body to the limits of its capacities. Thrilling until the very end, Dark Matter is ultimately a gritty, dimension-hopping, drug-injecting love story that will leave you wondering if you are living the best version of your life. 


Check out the ebook and audiobook!

— From Nocturnal November Staff Picks

August 2016 Indie Next List

“Dark Matter is equal parts science fiction, thriller, and theoretical self-examination, complete with an overarching love story. Crouch does a fantastic job of keeping readers grounded while traveling through multiple dimensions, and he offers introspection on how each of the life choices a person makes recreates that person in a new and profound way. I tore through this, waiting for --and finding -- a spectacular conclusion. A must-read!”
— Ed White (E), Hudson Booksellers, Newark, NJ


A mindbending, relentlessly surprising thriller from the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy.

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.” 
In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.
Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.
Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

About the Author

Blake Crouch is best known for the Wayward Pines trilogy, which has sold more than a million copies and was adapted into a prime-time event series on FOX. He lives in Colorado.

Praise For…

“You’ll gulp Dark Matter down in one afternoon, or more likely one night… Alternate-universe science fiction [and] a countdown thriller in which the hero must accomplish an impossible task to save his family. There’s always another door to open, and another page to turn.”
New York Times Book Review
"A mind-blowing sci-fi/suspense/love-story mash-up."
Entertainment Weekly

“A fast, tasty read with a killer twist. It’s a whole bag of barbecue chips…just sitting there waiting for you to devour in one long rush.”
“A hard tale to shake…makes its characters — and readers — wonder what life would have been like had they made different decisions. Relatable and unnerving.”
—USA Today

"Propulsive...Dark Matter has plenty of heady concepts and phantasmagorical plotting. But it is also beguilingly rooted in [its hero's] desperate travails, elevating this page-turning adventure into an entirely different dimension."
Entertainment Weekly

“A blockbuster read that channels Michael Crichton… I can’t remember when I last sat down and blew through a book in literally a single sitting.”
—The Verge

“A dazzling book for summer [with] a mind-bending premise, a head-spinning plot that’s dialogue-driven and adrenaline-fueled, and a gut-wrenching climax that gave me goose bumps.”
Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Draws on questions and anxieties we all wrestle with in the dark hours...Crouch has invested [sci-fi motifs] with scientific plausibility, and more unusually, with emotional depth."
Wall Street Journal

“Crouch takes a sharp sci-fi premise and infuses it with love…A gripping page-turner [that is] concerned above all with the heart, and what we do to it—or let happen to it—over time. Dark Matter is It’s A Wonderful Life for the 21st century”

“[A] mind-blowing speculative-science thriller that throws in an old-fashioned love story for good measure.”
—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"Enormously compelling...the fastest, strangest thriller you'll read this year."

"Might be the most helter-skelter, race-to-the-finish-line thriller you’ll read all year, with a clever, mind-boggling final twist."
The Guardian

"A pacy, action-driven SF thriller...terse prose, strong characterisation and clever twists make for a quick, smart, engrossing read."
Financial Times

"A high-tension thriller...always engaging and frequently moving. A strong piece of summertime get-away reading, perfect for those times when the mind wanders to contemplate an alternate reality of endless vacation."
San Francisco Chronicle

“Exciting, suspenseful and frightening, yet also poignant and heartwarming, DARK MATTER is one of the best books of any year…or any reality.”
—Book Reporter
“A mind-bending odyssey of parallel worlds and causality [that] unfolds with all the suspense and strength of a more straightforward thriller, building up to a deliciously surreal climax…memorable and well-rounded characters add a big, beating heart to the tale.”
—New York Journal of Books 

"Brilliant. A book to remember. I think Blake Crouch just invented something new.”
Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Reacher series
“Exceptional. An exciting, ingeniously plotted adventure about love, regret, and quantum superposition. It’s been a long time since a novel sucked me in and kept me turning pages the way this one did.”
Andy Weir, New York Times bestselling author of The Martian
"A masterful, truly original work of suspense. Crouch delivers laser-focused prose, a plot that melds science fiction and thriller to brilliant effect, and a touching, twisted love story that plays out in ways you'll never see coming. It all adds up to one hell of a ride."
Harlan Coben, New York Times bestselling author of The Stranger

"Wow. I gulped down Dark Matter in one sitting and put it down awed and amazed by the ride. It's fast, smart, addictive-- and the most creative, head-spinning novel I've read in ages. A truly remarkable thriller."
Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of the Rizzoli & Isles series
“A mind-bending thriller of the first order, not merely a rollicking entertainment but a provocative investigation into the nature of second chances, all of it wrapped in a genius sci-fi package. I dare you to put it down, because I sure couldn’t.”
Justin Cronin, New York Times bestselling author of the Passage Trilogy. 

“The kind of book the word "thriller" was coined for -- a shooting star through multiple genres, posing fundamental questions about identity and reality before revealing itself as, at its core, a love story.  Smart, fast, powerful, and ultimately touching."
Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Guilty Minds and Suspicion
"An addictive read! When the quantum mechanics kick in (no kidding!), hold onto your horses -- you're in for an intelligent, breath-taking ride."
John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author of The Fall and The Oath
“Blake Crouch yet again proves himself to be a master. Nonstop pacing, fascinating characters and an ingenious concept all come together flawlessly in a crescendo of pursuit, danger, and romance all the way to a surprising and satisfying slam-bang conclusion.”
Barry Eisler, New York Times bestselling author of the John Rain series 

“Excellent characterization and well-crafted tension…the rousing and heartfelt ending will leave readers cheering.”
Publishers Weekly

“Suspenseful, frightening, and sometimes poignant.”

“Crouch keeps the pace swift and the twists exciting. Readers who liked his Wayward Pines trilogy will probably devour this speculative thriller in one sitting [as will] those who enjoy roller-coaster reads in the vein of Harlan Coben.”
Product Details
ISBN: 9781101904244
ISBN-10: 1101904240
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
Pages: 368
Language: English