Title: The Memory Detective
Author: T.S. Nichols
This book had a really interesting premise: in a near-future world where we’ve developed a procedure that allows the transfer of memories, a detective takes on the memories of murder victims in order to help him find their killers. I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect out of the execution, however, so I went into this without any real expectations.
There were some good things and some not-so-good things about this book.
The best aspect of the story, by far, was Cole’s experience of the memories he gained, and how those memories influenced his investigation. There was a lot of genuine emotion running around in those memories, and I liked how it allowed me, as a reader, to explore the lives of characters who were no longer alive in a way that wasn’t just summarization.
The overarching plot concerning the main villains of the story was also interesting and believable, specifically the way that the memory transfer process was commoditized.
However, although I really enjoyed those two elements of the book, I felt it did have some major weaknesses.
The biggest weakness was Cole’s personality. I understand he was supposed to seem “diluted” by his multiple sets of memories, that he was struggling with a sense of identity in some places, but I failed to properly connect with him as a result, and it made reading his narrative considerably less enjoyable than it would’ve otherwise been.
The second biggest weakness of the book was the ending. There appears to be some kind of sequel setup here, which is all right, but the way that story led up to it was rather messy. And I didn’t like how far the narrative went in exploring Cole’s investigations, only for most of his work to get thrown away in favor of dragging out the story in a second book. I think this could’ve made for a self-contained novel with no loose ends, and it would’ve been more satisfying that way.
Overall, this was a pretty decent mystery novel with an usual twist, though it did have a few issues.