Meg Gardiner captivates with her latest

June 11, 2009 11:48:52 AM PDT
"The Memory Collector" by Meg Gardiner: As a forensic psychiatrist, Jo Beckett is used to examining the minds of the dead.

But in "The Memory Collector," she is called to assist in a case dealing with a volatile man with "anteretrograde" amnesia.

Don't be turned off by the terminology, Gardiner does a great job of explaining it.

A person with this condition is able to retain previous memories, they're just unable to form new ones. That means, new experiences are immediately forgotten. It's a brilliant concept, especially when the man is forced to engage in industrial espionage to save his kidnapped family.

Ian Kanan is a mercenary, a subcontractor for a Silicon Valley company, who must deliver a stolen sample of a fictional biological weapon called Slick, developed from carbon nanotechnology. He is accidentally infected with the blood borne pathogen, which causes his brain injury.

Early on, he discovers where his family is, but the knowledge is obliterated from his mind before he is able to write it down.

Eccentric characters stand out, especially Beckett's neighbor, a paranoid hypochondriac, with a fondness for Brylcreem. Not only does he provide comic relief, he supplies useful information and helps get her out of trouble.

"The Memory Collector" is filled with continuous action and clever plot twists, although some dialogue, attempts at witty repartee, seem contrived. There are also several unnecessary references to films that have little relevance, however, one "Lord of the Rings," reference is quite apropos. It is an exceptional follow up to her first Beckett novel, "Dirty Secrets Club."

Follow Action News on Twitter

Get Action News on your website

Follow Action News on Facebook

Click here to get the latest Philadelphia news and headlines from across the Delaware and Lehigh valleys.