I love me a good thriller, and especially a thriller that explores thoughtful themes and raises good questions. Mary Kubica’s book When The Lights Go Out does exactly this. An intricately plotted thriller with likeable characters warring with their individual obsessions and their interior needs, this was an easy book to read that I finished in just one day because I couldn’t put it down.
After Jessie’s mother dies from cancer she enrols in college in an attempt to start rebuilding her life. But when the college tells her that her social security number has raised a red flag, she discovers something that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known. Unable to sleep since her mother’s death, Jessie feels like she’s going mad. As her insomnia worsens, Jesse begins to question what’s real and what’s only imagined.
I loved how the story explored how a desire taken to the extreme becomes an obsession, and how obsessions can drive you mad, as well as that sometimes you get what you want, but you’ve made so many compromises along the way your happiness can never be complete.
Going between Jessie’s present to her mother, Eden’s, past, this story adeptly explores the pain of infertility, identity, trust and grief. It’s a great roller coaster of a book with a nonlinear structure to create suspense that will give you your own brand of insomnia as you try to find out what’s really going on.