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by M.C. Soutter

Pub Date: Jan. 13th, 2012
Publisher: Manuscript

An amnesiac with superhuman abilities uncovers his secret purpose in this suspenseful thriller.

One morning, Kevin Brooks realizes he’s standing in front of a class of students—but he can’t remember who he is, why he’s there or even where he lives. Soutter (Charcot’s Genius, 2012) places Kevin at just about the same level as the reader, slowly letting information trickle out as Kevin discovers it. He’s a millionaire, living in the heart of Manhattan in a penthouse apartment complete with a butler and a library of books. But despite his excellent accommodations, he can’t sleep a wink. In addition to seemingly boundless energy for exercise, he can read and assimilate an entire book in minutes. Interestingly, his star pupil is the son of a computer scientist on the verge of an artificial intelligence breakthrough that could precipitate the technological singularity. As Kevin discovers his own story, multiple surveillance groups form around him at the edge of his awareness, along with glimpses of a sinister plot that might threaten his training. Soutter doesn’t show the depths of his characters, though, because he rarely has time with such a fast-moving plot. He keeps pages turning by enticing the reader with the intriguing details of Kevin’s strange transformation. Eventually, light philosophical and allegorical touches enter the story, adding a layer of cognitive science to the more explicit ideas about technology and artificial intelligence. Fortunately, this extra layer bolsters the story when character development is lacking. For such a short read, the action-packed final scenes alone are worth admission.

A page-turner big on brains but short on soul.