Blake Crouch’s latest thriller is — delightfully — about something.

Assumed Audience: readers of sci-fi or thrillers or both — especially if you have an interest in identity, memory, and the ways they intersect.

cover for Recursion
Recursion, Blake Crouch (2019)
Blake Crouch’s Recursion was the first thriller I’ve read in a long time — and it didn’t let me down. Its interest in identity and memory made it more than just a thriller, and I’m glad I read it.

Over my Christmas vacation, I picked up and read two of Blake Crouch’s novels: Recursion and Dark Matter. Recursion is the more recent of the two, published just this year, but the one I read first. It’s a romp of a book, a sci-fi thriller that pushes on questions of personal identity and memory and the relationship between the lives we have lived and the ways we remember them. The characters were fun and well-drawn; the plot twists always made sense; the conclusion worked.

The value of that last bit is hard to overstate: I generally don’t read thrillers because the handful I have read left a bad taste in my mouth with their dissatisfying endings. Recursion doesn’t have that problem, thankfully. I read it start to finish over the span of just a few days, and enjoyed it so much that I immediately picked up Dark Matter to read as well.

My favorite thing about the book is that it was about something: it wasn’t just a thriller, but a thriller interested in those questions of identity and memory. It was still popcorn, but… popcorn with a side of mashed potatoes or something like that.