This Thing Between Us

Farrar. Oct. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9780374539238. pap. $17. HORROR
DEBUT On the surface, Moreno’s debut novel is about the grief and anger experienced by a widower named Thiago. Thiago also has to contend with the Itza, an invasive technology that’s like Siri and Alexa mixed with Hal from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. But this story is much more. This powerful Own Voices narrative begins with Thiago at his wife’s funeral, reading between the lines of what the mourners tell him; in his social media-driven world, people say one thing and mean something entirely different, and sometimes hollowness masks itself as genuine affection. The timeline jumps around as Thiago recounts his relationship with his wife, in a style that sounds like he’s retelling her the story of their life together. As time goes on, the Itza becomes more confrontational, dangerous, and invasive. Moreno’s novel accelerates to a frenetic pace, making the reader wonder who is telling the truth and what has actually happened.
VERDICT Creepy and engaging, this work will make an impactful addition to horror sections and displays.
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