Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jenn's Review: The Memory Collector

Summary: Forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett’s specialty is the psychological autopsy— an investigation into a person’s life to determine whether a death was natural, accidental, suicide, or homicide. She calls herself a deadshrinker instead of a head-shrinker: The silence of her “patients” is a key part of the job’s attraction. When Jo is asked to do a psychological autopsy on a living person—one with a suspect memory who can’t be trusted to participate in his own medical care—she knows all her skills will be put to the test.

Jo is called to the scene of an aircraft inbound from London to help deal with a passenger who is behaving erratically. She figures out that he’s got anterograde amnesia, and can’t form new memories. Jo finds herself racing to save a patient who can walk and talk and yet can’t help Jo figure out just what happened to him. For every cryptic clue he is able to drag up from his memory, Jo has to sift through a dozen nonsensical statements. Suddenly a string of clues arises, something to do with a superdeadly biological agent code-named “Slick,” a missing wife and son, and a secret partnership gone horribly wrong. Jo realizes her patient’s addled mind may hold the key to preventing something terrible from happening in her beloved San Francisco. In order to prevent it, she will have to get deeper into the life of a patient than she ever has before, hoping the truth emerges from the fog of his mind in time to save her city—and herself.

Review: I hardly think the summary of this book does it justice. This is the second installment of the Jo Beckett series and I throughly enjoyed it. Typical Gardiner, there was lots of action (an incredible fight scene with two women and a hot iron) and even a little romance thrown in. But it was also a fascinating psychological thriller. I cannot imagine living constantly in the present... while there is something too be said for the technology around "slick" being a little fuzzy, I found it easily forgivable. The only part I had trouble with is a cop with back up going missing and the rest of the team being clueless... outside of that, I think Gardiner has solidly established Jo as a character. The Jo Beckett series has really come into it's own.

Final take: 4/5


kay - Infinite Shelf August 4, 2009 at 3:20 AM  

Oh, this sounds really interesting! I've never read Meg Gardiner, so I should probably being by the first of this series, but I like the idea of following a psychologist rather than a regular investigator.

Jenn August 4, 2009 at 10:49 AM  

The Dirty Secrets Club is the first of Gardiner's Jo Beckett series. It was a good set-up of the character, while this was a solid book for the series.

I know I'm always singing her praises, and everyone's probably sick of reading it, but if you find you like Gardiner's writing style, try her Evan Delaney series too, starting with China Lake. :)

Jenny August 6, 2009 at 8:53 PM  

I looove this series! I'm so happy I discovered this author... I started reading her Evan Delaney series too. I feel like I'm always saying how great she is... glad to have found another fan!

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