I don’t typically seek out contemporary mysteries or thrillers, but have been wanting to try this for awhile now. It’s a psychological thriller, light on mystery, involving a woman who wakes up without memories and discovers she has a husband and is part of a fringe religious group (cult). There are multiple POVs, including Sara (the woman with amnesia), Stella, the investigator, searching for her missing friend, and then a few POVs from Jacob, Sara’s husband.
We see a lot of the religious cult and how they operate. It’s like a strange fundamentalist sect where the women “serve” their husbands and get “correction” for “questioning” them (spanked with a belt or slapped). They have to listen to the leaders’ sermons every day and it’s obviously a bizarre insulated world they live in.
Stella finds a lead that begins to take her closer to the sect. She begins to unfold a bigger conspiracy than anyone imagined. I won’t go into it more because spoilers. It was very uncomfortable at times to see what Sara goes through. There is some Stockholm Syndrome going on.
I did not see the ending coming, but I had pretty much figured out a couple of the other mysteries. This isn’t a complex story, but it’s very engaging and easy to read and kept me entertained the whole time. I got through the whole book in about a day!
Much like Shelly, I’m not always drawn to books (or games) set in a contemporary setting. That’s partly why even urban fantasies don’t always work for me. However, I have found it much easier to listen to audiobooks that are set in familiar backdrop. I don’t have to work to understand fantastical worlds or complex political system or completely foreign jargon. Those concepts are much simpler for me to grasp with the written word. I listen to audiobooks so I can zone out a bit doing tedious, monotonous work stuff without always having to actively listen, because I can’t focus completely on the audio. If I did I’d be out of a job because nothing would get done. So, I compromise every now and then and peruse Kindle Unlimited looking for dark, twisty psychological thrillers. Those are usually easy to listen to without having to focus too much of my attention on, and, if I’m lucky, sometimes they are really pretty good. Win win in my book. That’s how Into the Light appeared on my radar. Of course I immediately consulted GRs, saw that it had a 4+ star avg rating, and that was all the confirmation I needed to start.
Shelly did a pretty good job of summing up the plot. Sara wakes up after a car wreck with absolutely no memories of her husband, Jacob, or their life together as members of this religious cult. A big part of the story follows from Sara’s POV and Jacob’s POV as they learn to live life together again. Sara has no memories of the rules of this life and so must be retaught and reconditioned. It’s just as infuriating as you’d expect it to be, with men being the controlling force and the women literally forced into greeting their husbands on their knees at the door. The whole situation left me feeling very uncomfortable and conflicted at times. About Jacob, about Sara, about all of it. I still kinda feel that way.
Another big part of the story is told from Stella’s POV. Stella is an investigative reporter searching for her missing best friend. During the course of her search, she begins to uncover a disturbing trend involving missing women. As each new clue is unearthed it all seems to point her to The Light, this religious cult that Sara is a part of. Despite being warned away from continuing, Stella won’t stop until she has all the answers…
Lately it seems that there aren’t many books that manage to surprise me. This one was an exception. While some of the revelations weren’t complete shockers, I think it was done interestingly enough and left the reader guessing just enough to pull it off. I immediately downloaded and listened to Book 2, Away from the Dark, and I’m now patiently(ish) waiting for Book 3. If you’re like me and like the psychologically oppressed women/cult/sect trope (it just works for me for some reason) AND have KU AND like listening to audiobooks, I recommend giving this a go. It gets a solid 4 stars from me.