A pretty good novel that plays around with a concept early that seems like it’s going to be fruitful, but then abandons it for way too familiar territory. In addition to all that, the writing is overwrought in ways that are unsuited to book, and this book is sometimes peopled with incredibly flat, and irritatingly unthinking characters.
So we begin with Barry Sutton, an NYPD robbery detective, being first on the scene of a would be suicide attempt. He tries to talk the woman down from the ledge when she tells him she has FMS (or False Memory Syndrome) where a whole set of untrue memories concurrent with her own real memories have flooded her mind. She jumps, and he’s haunted by this, as well as the possibility she was contagious, as is possible. We move from here to Helena, a memory researcher who is trying to invent a process for storing and collecting memories in part inspired by her mother’s Alzheimer’s. She is approached by a billionaire inventor who offers her a chance to explore and grow her technology. And of course there’s much more to be seen!
So I am avoiding spoilers, but I did find this book to pull a bit of bait and switch where it seems like it’s about to be one (actually really scary and interesting) thing! but is actually about another (still interesting but much more familiar) thing. It’s basically structured and written like a Michael Crichton novel, which is solid because familiar, but falls into a style of writing that’s not supported by the novel. And worse, there’s some really cringy moments of “IF WE DO THIS IT WILL BE BAD!” “BUT WHAT IF NOT BAD BUT GOOD?!” moralizing that comes off as silly.