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Mortal Memory by Thomas H. Cook
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Mortal Memory (1993)

by Thomas H. Cook

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BOTTOM-LINE:
Not everything happened the way you remember
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PLOT OR PREMISE:
A young boy loses his mother, sister and brother to an apparent killing spree of his father. Years later, an author tracks down the boy, now a man with a wife and son, and asks him to remember the details of their last few months together.
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WHAT I LIKED:
The basic plot is somewhat interesting in that it deals with the young boy's impressions of life, now recolored and filtered through the eyes of an adult, and the sudden realizations of what he actually saw and heard of adult conversations which made no sense at the time, but are all too clear now. A reinterpretation of history, in a sense, that allows the context to show more clearly than a simple linear telling might have done.
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WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
Two aspects stand out as negative factors. First, there is the telling of the story. At the beginning, it seems far too disjointed, and the continuous references to the future to build suspense actually fall flat. Secondly, there is a sense of detachment throughout the story, almost a clinical feel that keeps you removed from the main character and limits the novel to simply "telling" the story rather than having the reader "live" it through the eyes and actions of the characters. The fact that the ending is all too predictable is not necessarily a negative factor in this story, as it doesn't detract from an interesting read into the psyche of a slowly disintegrating family, and there are twists at the end that show the dangers of reinterpreting history from a cracked lens. Not everything happens the way the little grey cells remember, nor the way reality would tend to dictate.
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DISCLOSURE:
I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the author, nor do I follow him on social media. ( )
  polywogg | Dec 30, 2016 |
An excellent psychological thriller from Cook. With an interesting twist at the end, more than a typical why dunit, this novel explores in depth the characters and through the eyes of the narrator who himself is going through a mid life crisis, the reasons behind the brutal murder of his family members.. ( )
  adithyajones | Aug 11, 2012 |
Kept me guessing right up until the final few pages. ( )
  LadyBlossom | Aug 30, 2008 |
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This much I remembered from the beginning: the floral curtains in their second-floor bedroom pulled tightly together; Jamie's new basketball at the edge of the yard, glistening in the rain; Laura's plain white bra lying haphazardly in the grass behind the house, the rest of our clothes, drenched and motionless as they hung from the line above it.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 055356532X, Paperback)

Along with Jamie and my  mother, Laura died at approximately four in the  afternoon. It was almost two hours later that Mrs.  Hamilton, a neighbor from across the street, saw my  father drive away. During those long two hours in  which he remained in the house, my father washed my  mother's body and arranged her neatly on the bed.  After that, he made a ham sandwich and ate it at  the table in the kitchen. He drank a cup of coffee,  leaving both the plate and the cup in the sink. He  didn't pack anything, because he left with  nothing. He didn't reenter either Laura's of Jamie's  room. He made no attempt to clean up the frightful  mess that had been made of them. And yet, for no  apparent reason, he remained in the house for a full  two hours. What had he been waiting for?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:36 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A woman writing a book on men who kill their families brings the past and the horror of his childhood to life for a forty-four year old man.

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