All Is Not Forgotten

Everyone knows that the three most elements of a psychological thriller are suspense, suspense, and suspense. But there are other facets that weigh heavily in whether we fall for a novel enough to have angst over the outcome. One of them is character development. We need to see characters whose arc allows us to believe in the twists and turns that are being thrown our way.

Wendy Walker’s All Is Not Forgotten does just that. Through the use of a single story teller (Dr. Alan Forrester - an unreliable and biased narrator at best) Walker dribbles out information about her characters with what appears to be a haphazard, casual delivery - sometimes going back and forth in tangents allowing the reader to effortlessly zig and zag through the story line. Because of Forrester’s tale-like rambling of the story, we don’t realize that the information is calculated and precisely timed to deliver the most impact. Some facts are barely a sentence; perhaps an addendum after a semicolon, and delivered chapters before the reader will put it to use.

In the small town of Fairview, Connecticut, where all the residents know everyone and a suspicious car would be easily noted, Jenny Kramer is attacked. After being given a rather controversial trauma-sparing memory drug, she appears to have survived the attack unscathed. But has she, really? The implications to the administration of the drug are endless. How will the perpetrator be caught when the witness is memoryless? Can the victim make peace with an incident that everyone (including her own body) knows has happened, but her mind no longer gives her reconcilable facts with which to make sense of her emotions? How does a father get the revenge he seeks? How will her psychiatrist pull just enough memories through the haze and will those memories be reliable enough to be of any use?

All Is Not Forgotten pulls you in from the first chapter with a violent event that is recounted in a fact-by-fact tone reminiscent of John Grisham’s A Time To Kill. Perhaps it’s Wendy Walker’s first profession as an attorney, which she has in common with John Grisham, that allowed her to write a horrific scene in clinical detail, but survivable to the reader. Throughout the story our opinions and our loyalties change. Because we are kept in a constant guessing game about the ending (I, personally, had three possible conclusions) we go from back and forth from sympathetic to suspicious about each character. It’s a wonderful ride – a fast-paced read that delivers an ending that makes you wish you had been savvy enough to guess.

It’s no wonder that Warner Bros. has optioned the rights to the book and is collaborating with Reese Witherspoon in development. You definitely want to read this book before you run to the theater to see it!

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