The generic title, like the mind of auto insurance adjuster Sylvia Jackson, conceals a diabolical mystery. In the months since Sylvia was shot and left for dead in Boston's Mount Auburn Cemetery as her boyfriend Tony Ruggiero lay tortured and murdered in her home, the blank slate of her mind has gradually been filled in. Now she's ready to identify her bantamweight ex-husband Stuart as the killer. So Stuart's public defender Chip Ferguson, equally convinced of his innocence and suspecting that Sylvia's memories may have been imprinted by Sylvia's constant questioner, Sgt. Joseph McRae, asks neuropsychologist Peter Zak to examine Sylvia and assess the current state of her memory. Peter, who last worked with Chip on a case that left Peter's wife dead, would rather walk through fire than take this one. But there's actually no choice to make: Soon after he begins examining Sylvia, he gets to walk through fire anyway. His work with his other patients—especially Korsakoff's sufferer Jack O'Flanagan and suicidal incest survivor Maria Whitson—suffers. His credibility is attacked on the witness stand and off, and the rest of him is attacked by a hooded assailant intent on killing him. And that's all before the ugly, unguessable surprises his pseudonymous authors (psychologist A.A. Greeley teaming with freelancer Hallie Ephron) are planning to spring on him in the end.
Ephron manages to treat the hackneyed subject of the amnesiac witness/victim with remarkable sensitivity to the mind's complexity while providing all the thrills you expect from the genre. First of a welcome new series.