The Earls layer the story with a clear sense of tension and unease, peppered with moments of humor, while offering a detailed glimpse of behind-the-scenes work in hospitals and morgues. Readers might be divided on the trajectory of the narrative: Marcia, admittedly a talented neuroscientist, happens rather coincidentally upon a life-altering natural medicine from an African tribe to resurrect the presciently nicknamed Frank. The convenience of this might raise eyebrows, but the ensuing suspense and intrigue make up for it.
The most potentially divisive choice is also the novel’s most interesting: Marcia’s affair with the reanimated man. Still, her character seems rather one-note: Her coldness and callousness suggest she could develop into a memorable antihero, but her sexual dreams about Frank (wherein a strong orgasm wakes her from her slumber) and her overstated longings (“Although Zach had been gone for only a few days, Marcia’s loins were aching for some manly attention”) blunt the nuance. Her actions are not tempered with many persuasive moments of empathy—for instance, Marcia’s decision to not sleep with Frank in her marital bed comes too late to have much impact. Frank, meanwhile, is given more lifelike treatment, an inquisitive character capably fleshed out.
Takeaway: This tense novel of resurrection walks a fine line between science fiction and romance.
Great for fans of: Jesse Petersen’s Living with the Dead series, Joan Frances Turner’s Dust.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: B