The Bottom Line: High-stakes tech meets romantic suspense in this heart-pounding thriller. Voted the Best Spy Thriller of 2021.
Scientist Marcus Hall’s new invention, the Marc1, is a breakthrough in 5G technology. But it’s also a marvel of neuroscience. After causing drowsiness and deep sleep, it hyper-stimulates emotions while turning off higher-functioning brain activity.
While the technology could make a lot of people rich, someone close to Marcus also has plans to use it for nefarious purposes. Could it be suspicious lab assistant Henry, sexy project manager Sarah, or even well-meaning pal Maddy?
Chas Murrell’s compelling novel sets Marcus up as a brainy, lovable and somewhat naive scientist. Readers are consistently one step ahead, as Murrell offers glimpses of what those close to Marcus are up to thanks to chapters written from other characters’ points of view. The approach creates ample suspense as the scientist, seen through the eyes of those around him, becomes increasingly vulnerable and sympathetic. As the book progresses, Marcus is forced to make gut-wrenching choices.
Murrell’s high-stakes storyline is more than enough to keep readers engaged, but strong characterization is the book’s strong suit. Marcus’ world is fully realized, from close friendships to conniving business associates and romantic longing. Frequent doses of humor and strong romantic tension carry the narrative throughout. Even dinner parties feel intimate and authentic, with witty banter and boozy breath leaping off the page.
Yearn to Fear delivers far more punch than a cozy mystery, but it’s also perfect for readers who love a thriller with levity and heart.