Published by Howard Books on January 2019
Genres: Fiction, Suspense
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In this frighteningly believable thriller from New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee, an extinct disease re-emerges from the melting Alaskan permafrost to cause madness in its victims. For recent apocalyptic cult escapee Wynter Roth, it’s the end she’d always been told was coming.
The Line Between | Tosca Lee
Like Lucifer before her, Wynter Roth is about to be kicked out of Paradise. Unlike the devil, her sentence is not one handed down by God, but by his Interpreter, Magnus. And Paradise isn’t really Paradise, but this outpost of it called New Earth. Fifteen years, Wynter has spent behind its walls. Only recently had the cracks begun to form. Only recently had she seen New Earth for what it really was. She was excommunicated, yes, but she was free.
In The Line Between, Tosca Lee balances between worlds. In the present, Wynter is free from New Earth, living with a family friend, trying to determine how to live in this sinful world after a lifetime in the cult. But it isn’t that easy. Magnus has always taught that the end of the world was near and, now living in the world, Wynter finds that difficult to dispute. Wars, natural disasters, sickness—they’re everywhere and ravaging. Particularly this one growing disease that causes rapid-onset dementia.
In the past, we see Wynter’s life at the compound. Lee paints a vivid picture of Magnus’s control over the facility, led by the Guardians and Elders. New Earth preaches a strict asceticism. No worldly things. Not clothes. Not entertainment. And no technology. As Wynter grows older, she begins to see some cracks in the system. Not everything is as it seems. And that’s eventually what leads to her excommunication.
As the disease grows, the world begins to panic. Wynter discovers that there may be a connection between her past and the present pandemic. This sets her off on a journey to find the truth, and perhaps even save the world. The line between the two storylines is rather tenuous. It’s rather fortuitous—not exactly contrived, but not exactly the next logical step—circumstances that drive the second half of the novel.
I also wish Tosca had spent more time on developing the present storyline. The plague popped up as more serious way before I was expecting it. (Maybe I was just too engrossed in the past storyline to notice.) The world seemed to go from meh to panic nearly overnight. If I had to guess, there are some chapters on the cutting room floor that would satisfy what I felt was missing.
Three years ago, I closed down Life is Story because reviewing had become a job rather than a fun hobby. I had to step back and evaluate my priorities. I wanted to reopen because I missed reading. But I was also worried because I hadn’t found much fiction that really grabbed me and kept me interested. I wanted to celebrate story, not just be a cynic. The Line Between helped me rediscover my love for fiction. Thank you for that, Tosca. I am forever indebted.
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