Title: The Fold
Author: Peter Clines
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Science Fiction
STEP INTO THE FOLD.
IT’S PERFECTLY SAFE.
The folks in Mike Erikson's small New England town would say he's just your average, everyday guy. And that's exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he's chosen isn’t much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he’s content with his quiet and peaceful existence.
That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve: far out in the California desert, a team of DARPA scientists has invented a device they affectionately call the Albuquerque Door. Using a cryptic computer equation and magnetic fields to “fold” dimensions, it shrinks distances so that a traveler can travel hundreds of feet with a single step.
The invention promises to make mankind’s dreams of teleportation a reality. And, the scientists insist, traveling through the Door is completely safe.
Yet evidence is mounting that this miraculous machine isn’t quite what it seems—and that its creators are harboring a dangerous secret.
As his investigations draw him deeper into the puzzle, Mike begins to fear there’s only one answer that makes sense. And if he’s right, it may only be a matter of time before the project destroys…everything.
A cunningly inventive mystery featuring a hero worthy of Sherlock Holmes and a terrifying final twist you’ll never see coming, The Fold is that rarest of things: a genuinely page-turning science-fiction thriller. Step inside its pages and learn why author Peter Clines has already won legions of loyal fans.
To make a comparison, I liked this book for almost completely opposite reasons than I liked The Thought Readers. That book I liked for the mechanics of the world, but found the overall plot a bit lacking. This book seems very much about the plot, which is handled well, but mostly falls apart to me when I spend time thinking about the mechanics of the world.
To talk about the overall story first (spoiler free, don't worry), I have a few points to make against and in favor of this book. It sells itself largely on some twists in the second half of the book, but I felt like the main twist was something I was able to see coming from pretty early on in the book. The book earns pretty high praise from me for two reasons though: First, for a book with such a heavy emphasis on mystery they do a very good job to provide the reader with the details needed to really think about the mystery on your own and try to figure out what's going on. I have a serious pet peeve about mystery plots where the end is only a surprise because some unrelated last clue nobody knew about finally spelled out who the villain was, and have a good respect for stories that can maintain suspense while providing the reader with the same information they will later call upon. The second thing I like about this movie, was that while I feel I did see the main part of the 'twist' coming... I was far from certain that was what was going on (thus was still in suspense), and while I guessed the basics of the twist, there was still much that I had not guessed. As a bonus, when looking back even the stuff I hadn't anticipated was still foreshadowed, which I consider a solid sign of good writing.
The characters in this book are handled pretty well, but strike me as being rather secondary to the plot. Everyone involved has their own distinct personality, and the book makes a point to allow you to get a feel for each character's quirks and personality ticks, but there's not a whole lot of character growth going on.
This brings me to what you might call Nitpicking.
I should point out I don't usually bother Nitpicking books I don't like, and really this just means I've spent a lot of time thinking about the book, but still. I enjoy a good bit of science fiction, and while this book has a modern setting, they do play up some pseudoscience in the book pretty heavily. Pseudoscience is fine in a book like this, obviously I don't expect Peter Clines to actually understand physics better than Stephen Hawking when describing technology that does not exist in our world, but I did feel a few times throughout the book that some of the descriptions we were given weren't quite consistent. The book makes a point of not making the science in the story the critical point, which I appreciated (technojargon is another pet peeve), but I do wish I understood the basic rules of the book's science a bit better.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book, thinking about it between reading, and continued to enjoy thinking about everything in it for a while after having read it.
Special Awards: (Things the book did very right)
Mad Science Award