Monday, September 23, 2019

Book Review: 'A Single Light (The Line Between #2)' by Tosca Lee

A Single Light by Tosca Lee

A brilliant sequel!

Tosca Lee, a bestselling American author of historical novels and supernatural thrillers, is best known for her exploration of maligned characters, prodigious research and vivid imagery. Lee was born in Roanoke, Virginia, to a Korean father and Caucasian American mother. Her father, Professor Emeritus Sang Moon Lee, who had early aspirations of an opera career, named Tosca for his favorite Puccini opera. As a young classically trained ballerina and pianist Lee pursued an early career in dance until injuries derailed hopes of a successful career. Lee received her BA in English from Smith College and studied international economics at Oxford University. As a young classically trained ballerina and pianist Lee pursued an early career in dance until injuries derailed hopes of a successful career.

With her uncanny approach to creating a story that allows her to embrace factors of contemporary realism/threat warnings and blend these forms of terror with fictional characters whose validity to the story enhances the degree of suspense, Tosca Lee continues her superb novel THE LINE BETWEEN with a sequel that immediately picks up the pace, adding her signature distillation of immediacy to her characters: ‘I miss ice cream. The way it melts into a soupy mess if you draw out the enjoyment of eating it too long. That it has to be savored in a rush. I miss the Internet, my cell phone, and Netflix. I was halfway through the first season of Stranger Things when the lights went out. I miss the sky. The feel of wind—even when it carries the perfume of a neighboring pasture. The smell of coming rain. But even fresh air is a small price to pay to be sane and alive. To be with the people you love. The ones who are left, anyway. My five-year-old niece, Truly. My mom’s former best friend, Julie, and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Lauren. And Chase—my (what? boyfriend?)—who has made it his mission to keep me safe since we met three weeks ago. We’re five of the lucky sixty-three who have taken shelter from the flu-borne pandemic in an underground silo west of Gurley, Nebraska.’In opening her sequel with this inviting subtlety, the groundwork is well established. 

Plot outline – ‘Six months after vanishing into an underground silo with sixty others, Wynter and Chase emerge to find the area abandoned. There is no sign of Noah and the rest of the group that was supposed to greet them when they emerged—the same people Wynter was counting on to help her locate the IV antibiotics her gravely ill friend, Julie, needs in order to live. As the clock ticks down on Julie’s life, Wynter and Chase embark on a desperate search for medicine and answers. But what they find is not a nation on the cusp of recovery thanks to the promising new vaccine Wynter herself had a hand in creating, but one decimated by disease. What happened while they were underground? With food and water in limited supply and their own survival in question, Chase and Wynter must venture further and further from the silo. Aided by an enigmatic mute named Otto, they come face-to-face with a society radically changed by global pandemic, where communities scrabble to survive under rogue leaders and cities are war zones. As hope fades by the hour and Wynter learns the terrible truth of the last six months, she is called upon once again to help save the nation she no longer recognizes—a place so dark she’s no longer sure it can even survive.’

Keep the lights on, as this novel is so magnetic it is likely to keep you awake and reading all night. Another major achievement by Tosca Lee whose stature in the literary world continues to astound us.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.