The novel begins with a blind date in Portland, Oregon, where Stacey quickly becomes charmed by a British doctor named Adam, whom she originally met on a dating app. The wine and dinner portion of the date went swimmingly well, but things get seriously weird in the car ride back to Adam’s place to consummate the good night.
The third-person perspective changes to Karl Morgan. He’s Stacey’s brother and he is super-concerned about Stacey’s well-being. Karl is flopping on his sister’s couch, and Stacey has been acting seriously weird since her date with the doctor. The change in Stacey’s behavior triggers Karl to leave Stacy’s place and set off on his own. Maybe some time apart will be good for the siblings.
When Karl reconnects with his sister, her weirdness and creepy behavior only increases. The central mystery of the novel’s first act: “What the hell is going on with Stacy?” No one spoiled the book for me, so I was wavering between demonic possession and an alien body-snatching. There were some legit terrifying scenes depicting Stacey’s descent into weirdness or madness or however you want to characterize her changes. Fans of horror fiction will be super-pleased. Leave it at that.
The initial solution to the mystery is revealed halfway through the novel, and the book then slides into straight-up thriller territory. Two characters pair up to solve the mystery, and their relationship follows the beats of a young adult novel. A late-novel plot twist turns everything you’ve read on its head, making the reader want to know more about the conspiracy of The Many promised in the title.
Beyond that, there’s not much I can say about the plot that won’t spoil the fun for you. My only complaint is that the paperback is part one in a trilogy, and not much is resolved in The Many. To the publisher’s credit, all three installments have been released in one 900-page volume, which I’ll need to tackle one day to find out what the Hell happens.
Bottom line, The Many - at least the first installment - is inventive, periodically terrifying, and often hard to put down. It’s a puzzle-box mystery with an intriguing solution that kept the pages turning. If this sounds like your kind of thing, it probably is. You won’t be disappointed.