MIRAGE by F. Paul Wilson


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 The Wilson-Costello team turns out a medical thriller about memory that echoes the wonderfully trashy psychological suspense of Hitchcock's Spellbound updated as a computer game. This is Wilson's second novel featuring female twins in peril (Sibs, 1991), while novelist Costello's The 7th Guest is the bestselling CD-ROM interactive drama of all time. Here, neurophysiologist Julie Gordon, 27, and a fellow doctor have devised a virtual reality scanner that can enter a patient's memory and record it visually on a VCR while a guide hooked up to the scanner also enters and participates in the patient's memories. Julie's an intellectual cold fish, friendless and loveless, but when her overemotive twin sister Samantha falls into a mysterious coma in Paris, Julie decides to enter Samantha's memory and try to locate the missing neural pathway that has shut down Samantha's conscious mind. Samantha's memories focus on traumatic events leading up to her coma, but the memories themselves are often symbolic visualizations that have to be interpreted by Samantha's shrink, Dr. Alma Evans, who both watches the visualizations in progress on the VCR monitor and later reviews them on tape. The central event in the twins' memories is the house fire in which their parents died--a fire the twins witnessed when they were five. If parts of that horror have been blocked from recall, has their sudden eruption caused Samantha's coma? The twins were raised by their father's brother, warm, fatherly Eathan, who, as their guardian, supervises their $2 million insurance inheritance and trust fund. When Julie discovers that Eathan was also their father's twin, the game's afoot. Samantha's lover, Liam O'Donnell, pursued by Scotland Yard (he may be an Irish terrorist), shows up. Then Dr. Evans, having untangled the symbolic knot of twins upon twins, dies under very suspicious circumstances. If this isn't movie-bound, Hollywood needs a brain transplant.

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1996
ISBN: 0-446-51976-6
Page count: 384pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1996


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