Occasionally, I wonder what life must be like for former cult members who are experiencing the outside world for the first time. What goes through the mind when they come across people, situations, and things that directly contradict what they’ve been taught? Do they consider themselves fortunate to have escaped, or do they wish they could return?
In Tosca Lee’s new novel, The Line Between, the main character Wynter has been cast out of the cult she was brought into as a child. She’s been separated from the only family she has left, and finds a home with her mother’s former friend and teenage daughter. Even as she’s adjusting to smartphones and a 24 hour news cycle, the country starts experiencing a viral outbreak of what looks like early onset dementia. Is America coming to the end? Was the enigmatic leader of the cult right in his doomsday predictions? Or is he a con artist taking advantage of a dire situation?
This is a breath-taking, heart-racing, 5-star thriller that had me on the edge of my seat. The chapters alternate between past and present, between Wynter’s time in the cult and her life after. The revelations in the narrative seemed to get worse, until I got to the point where I wasn’t sure I could read any more. But I had to see it through. What would happen to Wynter, and the man she meets and reluctantly trusts? Would Wynter get to where she needed to be as the world around her descended deeper into chaos? Who was responsible for what was happening anyway?
I’m no scientist, but I did understand a bit about the cause of the viral outbreak. I’m familiar enough with Mad Cow Disease and its human variant. I still can’t give blood in the USA after having lived in Britain during the outbreak in the 1990s. There are also similarities to CTE, which is known for its connection to NFL players who had concussions during their careers. But you don’t need scientific knowledge to love this book as I did. My only problem was that I was left wanting more at the end. Thankfully, I’ve heard there’s a sequel in the works. It’s also been picked up for development as a television series!
Disclaimer: I received an electronic copy of this Advance, Uncorrected Reader’s Proof from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not required to write a review, and the words above are my own.
Publisher: Howard Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Publication Date: 29 January 2019