Book Review: The Memory Plot by D.W. Carver

So here is my second commission from and what an interesting one it was! Having not read any of the others in the series I will judge this purely on the merits of one book. So if anything doesn’t make sense, an insight is erroneous or something I write sounds confusing, it is my error and not a fault of the writer.

Mental health worker Jill Garvin lost her family two years ago and the memories are being just starting to resurface – which is to the detriment of the interests of certain people who need her to forget those events for good. Along the way she has Creel, her bodyguard, and Sarah her niece.

Jill is an interesting character – I like her and I feel for her. She has suffered horrendously in the last two years and it is quite clear from the get go that it is going to affect her for a long time to come. For a mental health professional, that isn’t good. At times I’m not sure whether she is fully aware of what she is doing. Clearly she is not thinking straight – why else would she invite a man to bed for non-sexual purposes, strip naked in front of him and then ask only that he hugs her tightly through the night? For me, it was this facet of her character and a desire to understand her that really drove my interest in the book.

It is well written and flows incredibly well. Before you know it, you’d have covered quite a substantial quantity of the book and not realise it. The plot is largely intriguing and you don’t really know where it is going. What is the conspiracy? How deep is it? What is her involvement? Her dead husbands? This alone makes it a bit of a page turner so for that the author deserves to be commended. Too many books fail that simple test of keeping your reader interested.

Now for the bad points: Jill and her niece Sarah spend an inexplicable amount of time (especially in the first half) either in their underwear discussing sex, naked discussing sex or generally sitting around discussing sex. Now I’m no prude, but it does get a bit wearisome. I get that they are modern and independent women and talk about that stuff… all well and good but at times it feels that it is all they talk about. Oh and there are lots of descriptions of Jill taking her clothes off – presumably to go to bed for some shut eye but I never figured out why it was necessary to have so many descriptions of her getting undressed.

This book deals harshly with some brutal issues so in that respect. Mental abuse, sexual abuse, child abuse, rape… it is not an easy read but only with one of them did I feel it was particularly distasteful: two protagonists inventing a plot to falsely accuse a man of rape. The fact that they justify this to themselves means that I lost all sympathy for these characters. The ends do not justify the means.

In many ways a very good book but you should probably start at the beginning – this is the third in the series.

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