Monday, 20 May 2013

Review: The Memory Collector, by Meg Gardiner

Now I do have to admit that thrillers aren't amongst my usual reading genres, but I do like a bit of action in my books (even if it is normally supernatural). So when Pook gave me The Memory Collector for a valentine's day present, I was genuinely quite excited, alongside being mildly annoyed that he had got me a valentine's day present when I had specifically asked him not too.
The Memory Collector is the second book in a series, and follows Dr. Jo Beckett, forensic psychiatrist to the dead- usually, her job entails interviewing friends and family of the deceased to identify why they died. I say usually, because Jo is called to the airport to section a live patient who has tried to open the emergency escape hatch on an aeroplane, mid-flight. From there, the story is fast paced and attention grabbing (at least initially)- the patient from the plane, Ian Kanan, has amnesia, his brain is mush and he has lost the ability to form new memories. A highly far fetched plot develops, involving nano-technology, kidnappings, identity swaps and an infectious *thing* (trying to avoid too many spoilers) that drives the plot in terms of how freaking dangerous it is, in every possible presentation of dangerous. 

Meg Gardiner writes superbly, bringing each character to life with vivid description and an in-depth, high octane plot. The only problem is that the plot can't possibly be high octane all of the time, and it is in the down time between the Big events that the books loses its energy somewhat. I felt a great deal more invested in Ian Kanan's character than Jo's, even though she was supposed to be the protagonist, which makes me feel that I wouldn't be especially interested in the rest of this series, even though I enjoyed this instalment.

The best parts, in every aspect that I can think to analyse it from, is most definitely the scenes from Ian's perspective. The way it is written reminded me a lot of the Guy Pearce film Memento- you really get a sense of how uncomfortable and disorientating it must be to lose your recent memories anytime you get even remotely distracted. 

Overall, was pleasantly surprised by this book- it went in a totally different direction to how I thought it would pan out, and the story was strong enough that I didn't even mind the lacklustre romance that floated along in the background. 7.5 stars 

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