Crime Reviews Science Fiction Thriller

The Line Between – Tosca Lee

22 August 2019
The Line Between Book Cover The Line Between
Tosca Lee
Howard Books
January 29, 2019

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. When Wynter Roth is turned out of New Earth, a self-contained doomsday cult on the American prairie, she emerges into a world poised on the brink of madness as a mysterious outbreak of rapid early onset dementia spreads across the nation. As Wynter struggles to start over in a world she’s been taught to regard as evil, she finds herself face-to-face with the apocalypse she’s feared all her life—until the night her sister shows up at her doorstep with a set of medical samples. That night, Wynter learns there’s something far more sinister at play and that these samples are key to understanding the disease. Now, as the power grid fails and the nation descends into chaos, Wynter must find a way to get the samples to a lab in Colorado. Uncertain who to trust, she takes up with former military man Chase Miller, who has his own reasons for wanting to get close to the samples in her possession, and to Wynter herself. Filled with action, conspiracy, romance, and questions of whom—and what—to believe, The Line Between is a high-octane story of survival and love in a world on the brink of madness.

I love stories that are flavored with reality and fiction. The reason I enjoy that kind of stories primarily is that there is just enough to believe and allow my mind to suspend the rest of my beliefs in the tale. Today, I have a book that I am reviewing that has layers of reality mixed with fiction in a cocktail of delicious discord. Get your peas separated and canned, make sure you don’t leave your lipstick behind in the van and whatever you do, read the prescription before you consume the contents, or you may not like what happens. It’s time for a review of “The Line Between” by Tosca Lee.

Tosca Lee’s fantastic team contacted me and asked me to review this book for her, and I want to thank NetGalley and everyone involved for such a treat.

Let’s talk about my first impressions of the book and the story for this first part of the review. Immediately I loved the color. It’s simple, it has a lot of beautiful colors mixed in a sea of white, and it spoils nothing that I encountered. When I opened the first pages and got through the first chapter, I was blown away by the initial premise to the story. I live several hours from Waco, Texas. Even if you were living under a rock, the words “Waco” would mean something very profound to those who hear it when it’s not about the actual city. It’s almost a verb now when it comes to stand-off precautions between a government and a group of citizens. So let me start this review off with, I’m very impressed with the first chapter and how it threw my mind toward when I was in Highschool watching TV for days on end as the news was covering a crisis. The book never lets up; the story moves from the beginning of terror to something so much scarier but also profound.

We follow the story of Wynter. In the beginning, her life is the worst possible life imaginable. I swear I haven’t ever seen an MC start at a lower point I think. Wynter’s story from the beginning to the end was great, and anyone who could not cheer, cry, or rejoice for her must be soulless and calloused.

For this part of my review, I’m going to go into critiques I have from “The Line Between.” For this one, I will be choosing from the “Story Structure, Foundation, and Presentation” portion of my scoring. In comparison to the times I’ve discussed this last month specifically with most of the classics, this is minor. The issue is that there isn’t a space between the paragraphs. That said, what there is are beautiful markers between sections, and also some very lovely indentation. So unlike the issue with endless walls of unbroken text, some very lovely breaks work rather well to keep the eyes from straining as severely.

Let me go into t his part of the review with what I enjoyed about “The Line Between” and first, it’s the perfect grammar and punctuation because the editing on the book is polished and beautiful. Margins are gorgeous as well, and someone took much time to correctly format this book for the e-copy that it reads gracefully. I enjoy this.

Next, I love the plot, sub-plot, and secondary sub-plot that was woven together. Initially, this story reads as though it’s just about the life of one person and how she deals with the hand she has. However, slowly and through creative plotting, bits of things begin to flow in. It’s woven into this tapestry that mixes post-apocalyptic sci-fi with YA coming of age and the dangers of cults. I love how this was done. I want so badly when I grow up to become a real author and have books, to be this brilliant with how I layer stories together.

I found that the story of Wynter also had an exciting movement of progression. It went to a weird place, in the end, something I never imagined but should have. Many breadcrumbs take you through the story, but when it comes together, it is glorious. I enjoyed that all of the threads of the story were easy to follow and distributed well in the narrative. Every plot point, sub-plot point, and movement of the story had a perfect ending. This wasn’t one of those novels that leads you to a cliff’s edge and drops you with a “Tune in next book so you can find out what happens” kind of cruddy ending. No, this is a PERFECT ending to a story that is rich and well done. I needed this, a book that restores my faith in modern fiction. This could be a one-off, or maybe there are plans for sequels, but honestly, if there are, I’m buying. That’s what we need more of with stories of this nature. We need books that have the account at heart and tell it so that the reader feels the full range of emotions and is not disappointed at the end for lack of story.


Happily, I am here to let you all know that “The Line Between” scores a 98/100 which is a five-star review on Goodreads and Amazon. Also, it’s going in the “Mrs. Y Recommends” pile because I do. I want others to read this book and learn from it about plot-lines and bringing stories together. I want everyone to learn about layered stories as this one was wonderful.

Peter Donnelly

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley

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