NetGalley Professional Reader

NetGalley Professional Reader

Friday, April 1, 2011

Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson



4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy suspense..., April 1, 2011
This was an entertaining thriller with an interesting middle-aged heroine. Christine Lucas wakes every morning without any memories -- she remembers nothing of her childhood, young college days, married life, or even the mundane details of yesterday that preceded her going to bed the night before today. Some sort of calamitous event has caused her to not only have amnesia, but the inability to form any new short term memories as well. Each day dawns and finds her uncertain as to who she is or how she came to be in the house she shares now with a man who claims to be her husband, Ben. As the story starts, Christine is jarred by a ringing phone. The caller is Dr. Ed Nash and he claims he is trying to help her discover her past while also admitting that he's going to do a research study of her case. He encourages her to write in a journal each day, recording the events and thoughts she has. They both hope that this exercise will help Christine recover her history and lead her to understand her situation and experience some kind of life in the present. It's during the course of this activity that Christine begins to have flashes of what she believes are people and events in the years leading to the current time -- the problem is that she can never be quite sure if she is actually rediscovering her own memories or confabulating - making up a history to replace what she doesn't really remember. As she writes in her journal, Christine also discovers that Ben seems to be lying to her -- is he trying to protect her from feeling the pangs of loss and the pain of not being present in her past? Or is it something more sinister? And who really is Dr. Nash and why doesn't he want Ben to know that he's treating her?

The narrative moves along, unfolding with deliberate pacing as the tension builds to a somewhat anticipated climax as Christine is pulled inexorably to the ultimate revelations. The conclusion is somewhat unsatisfying and not completely unpredictable, but I do read a lot of books of this type and made some accurate guesses. That's not to say the book isn't enjoyable, it is -- and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well written and suspenseful mystery. I look forward to the film adaptation as well.

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