So creepy and fascinating! A thrilling debut from a PNW author, this book is really hard to put down. Gyre is a caver who may or may not have falsified some of her credentials in order to get a job. She soon discovers the job itself is not as advertised, and her employer is keeping things from her. Spooky and atmospheric, this book is an amazing combination of psychological thriller, extreme adventure story, and creeping horror. Highly, highly recommended! Recommended By Azalea M., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A thrilling, atmospheric debut with the intensive drive of The Martian and Gravity and the creeping dread of Annihilation, in which a caver on a foreign planet finds herself on a terrifying psychological and emotional journey for survival.
When Gyre Price lied her way into this expedition, she thought she’d be mapping mineral deposits, and that her biggest problems would be cave collapses and gear malfunctions. She also thought that the fat paycheck — enough to get her off-planet and on the trail of her mother — meant she’d get a skilled surface team, monitoring her suit and environment, keeping her safe. Keeping her sane.
Instead, she got Em.
Em sees nothing wrong with controlling Gyre’s body with drugs or withholding critical information to “ensure the smooth operation” of her expedition. Em knows all about Gyre’s falsified credentials, and has no qualms using them as a leash — and a lash. And Em has secrets, too...
As Gyre descends, little inconsistencies — missing supplies, unexpected changes in the route, and, worst of all, shifts in Em’s motivations — drive her out of her depths. Lost and disoriented, her control giving way to paranoia and anger, Gyre severs her connection with Em and the outside world. On her own in this mysterious, deadly place, surrounded by darkness and the unknown, Gyre must overcome more than just the dangerous terrain and the Tunner which calls underground its home if she wants to make it out alive — she must confront the ghosts in her own head.
But how come she can’t shake the feeling she’s being followed?
“A harrowing, merciless descent into the human psyche. Starling’s prose is breathtakingly cinematic and left me without a molecule of spare oxygen. This book will catch you by the ankles and drag you backwards into a terrifying and inescapable reality. Read this one with all the lights on.” Sarah Gailey, Hugo award-winning author of River of Teeth
“The Luminous Dead dives into the human psyche and our ability for cruelty alongside compassion. Starling crafts a plot tight and gripping, weaves scenes dripping with wonder and terror, and keeps you wondering what’s real and what’s not until the very last page. Both beautiful and brutal, I loved it.” K.A. Doore, author of The Perfect Assassin
“Ghostly, mysterious, and terrifying, The Luminous Dead will have you rooted to the spot until the very last page.” Peng Shepherd, author of The Book of M
“Caitlin Starling’s The Luminous Dead is a gripping, claustrophobic thriller propelled by complex relationships between women. I couldn’t put it down.” Ada Hoffmann, author of The Outside
About the Author
Caitlin Starling is a writer and spreadsheet-wrangler who lives near Portland, Oregon. Equipped with an anthropology degree and an unhealthy interest in the dark and macabre, she writes horror-tinged speculative fiction of all flavors. The Luminous Dead is her first novel.