Mullin, Mike. Surface Tension.
4Q * 3P * J * S
Mullin, Mike. Surface Tension. Tanglewood, May 2018. 350p. $17.99. 978-1-939100-16-0.
Before waking up in the hospital with a fragmented memory and severe head injuries, Jake had been focused on riding his bike, training to eventually go pro. When an early morning training ride puts Jake in the wrong place at the wrong time, he becomes a witness to a terrorist attack. The terrorists want him dead, even though he does not remember what he saw. After two botched attempts on his life by the terrorist organization, Jake realizes his mother has written off his fears as hallucinations, a reaction to his traumatic injury. With the help of his girlfriend, Laurissa, Jake attempts to solve the mystery of his broken memories. Time is running out, however, as the terrorists have a new target in mind; Jake may be the only person who can stop them. Will they get to him before he can make somebody believe him?
Told in alternating narratives between Jake and Betsy, the daughter of the leader of the terrorist organization, this fast-paced thriller focuses on Jake's struggle to make sense of his memories before it is too late. Despite the double narration, Betsy and the terrorists are lacking nuance for much of the book, and the story clearly belongs to Jake. There is something of Hitchcock in the narrative, with a blend between The Man Who Knew Too Much, North by Northwest, and Rear Window, and the story, while sometimes beyond credulity, is gripping and frightening.--Jen McConnel.