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False Memory (1999)
by Dean Koontz
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English (1)
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553580221, Mass Market Paperback)Not a continuation of the Moonlight Bay series (Seize the Night and Fear Nothing) as many fans were expecting, False Memory is nonetheless just as powerful and compulsive as anything Koontz has written before.
Martie Rhodes is a successful young computer games designer with a loving husband, Dusty, and a seemingly normal life. Her best friend, Susan, however, suffers from agoraphobia, or a fear of open spaces, and relies on Martie to take her to weekly therapy sessions. Suddenly and inexplicably, Martie herself begins exhibiting worrying signs of a mental disorder, fearing herself capable of inflicting great harm on her loved ones. At the same time, Dusty's brother Skeet also succumbs to irrational mental behavior and tries to throw himself from a roof. It soon becomes clear that these four characters are involved in something much more than a sinister coincidence.
Koontz's great skill, as he demonstrates so well in this novel, is creating believable characters and thrusting them into seemingly impossible but--for the period of the story--completely plausible situations. The plot is as carefully layered as the most intricate orchestral compositions, and Koontz conducts the proceedings with almost unbearable tension. One of his greatest abilities as a writer, however, is tapping into the dark paranoia of society. As we approach the Millennium, and an age in which we are becoming increasingly desensitized to death and violence, Martie's fear of herself, known as autophobia, seems a terrifying warning that soon the only thing we will have left to fear is ourselves.
Deeper meanings aside, this is easily one of his best thrillers. The prose moves at a breakneck speed, and the denouement will leave you with a pounding heart and chills up and down your spine. Koontz delivers exciting, boundary-breaking fiction better than anyone else in the game, and False Memory (though at times shocking and disturbing) is a perfect example of a master author in top form. --Jonathan Weir, Amazon.co.uk
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 03 Jan 2013 14:06:02 -0500)
In this novel the author weaves a tale of madness, suspense, love, and terror from a startling and true-life psychological condition: autophobia, fear of oneself. Martie Rhodes is a young wife, a successful video game designer, and a compassionate woman who takes her agoraphobic friend, Susan, to therapy sessions. Susan is so afraid of leaving her apartment that even these trips to the doctor's office become ordeals for both women, but with each trip a deeper emotional bond forms between them. Then one morning Martie experiences a sudden and inexplicable fear of her own, a fleeting but disquieting terror of her own shadow. The episode is over so quickly it leaves her shaken but amused. The amusement is short-lived. For as she is about to check her makeup, she realizes that she is terrified to look in the mirror and confront the reflection of her own face. As the episodes of this traumatic condition-- autophobia--build, the lives of Martie and her husband, Dustin, change drastically. Desperate to discover the reasons for his wife's sudden and seemingly inevitable descent into mental chaos, Dusty takes Martie to the renowned therapist who has been treating Susan, and tries to reconstruct the events of recent months in a frantic search for clues. As he comes closer to the shocking truth, Dusty finds himself afflicted with a condition even more bizarre and fearsome than Martie's. This is novel of the human mind's capacity to torment and destroy itself. In it the author has created a story not only of gripping fear but also of the power of love and friendship.
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