All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker begins with a rape. Jenny Kramer, who had attended a party, ends up in the woods behind the house and violently attacked. In addition to enduring a horrific rape, Jenny is marked by her attacker. When she is found and taken to the hospital, her parents are given the option of a new treatment. This drug will erase Jenny’s memory of the events after the party and give her a chance to return to a sense of normalcy. Unfortunately, this drug and its effect on Jenny will impede efforts to bring the attacker to justice. How can the attacker be arrested if Jenny remembers nothing?
Dr. Forrester, Jenny’s doctor, helps her begin to uncover memories, and he deals with Jenny’s parents as well. Basically, Dr. Forrester appeals to Jenny’s senses to remember the events of the horrible night she was attacked. It is a therapy that he is also exploring with another patient, Sean, who has forgotten some of his warime memories in Iraq.
Jenny’s father is obsessed with tracking down the man who violated his little girl. He badgers the detectives about a car seen in the area, about a remembered sweatshirt, and potential links to drugs. When the clues begin to lead to Dr. Forrester’s son (among other suspects), he has to decide how far he will go to find the truth—and if he can handle it when the truth comes out.
The premise behind this book was a promising one, and it drew me in right from the start. I really wanted to know who committed this vile act and the connection to the science of memory was compelling. Sean’s introduction and his connection with Jenny provided a great way of expanding the narrative and throwing in some red herrings.
I did have a few problems with the book. First, the narrator is unknown for the first part of the book. It just did not work. It was off-putting rather than intriguing, and his comments and point of view mired the novel rather than providing any truly compelling input.
I also did not like the overly dramatic endings to every chapter. It seemed as though each one ended on a “cliffhanger” or with some overbearing portent of what was to come. In a book with chapters that are not that long, it gets old rather quickly.
When the bad guy was revealed, I was not invested. I am not sure why. The book got bogged down in the marital issues between Jenny’s parents, her mother’s infidelity, and Sean’s recovered memory. I think there was just too much going on. It started to feel like a different book—rather than a fast-paced thriller. The big reveal was completely unsatisfying.
I wish All is Not Forgotten had lived up to the promise of its first few chapters. I think some editing and paring down the various storylines would have made it a much better book.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Regina