False Memory

By: Dean Koontz

Rating: 87%

Brief Summary: A married couple and those surrounding them suffer from obscure disorders - including fear of oneself.

Before I give you my full opinion of this novel, let us examine the story.

Martine a.k.a. ``Martie'' Rhodes, has developed a rare mental disorder: autophobia, fear of oneself. At the same time, her husband's younger half-brother, Skeet Caulfield, has decided to jump off the roof of a building the two men are repairing. Skeet apparently has had some sort of odd visions recently. Martie's best friend, Susan Jagger, is also newly coping with agoraphobia, fear of the outdoors. What's more, Susan knows she is being visited and raped at night--in her sleep--by her separated husband, Eric, even though she keeps her windows and doors locked. Even though she ca not remember these rapes, she feels "unclean" each morning.

[Minor Spoiler Alert] So when Susan sets up a camcorder to record her sleeping hours, she is in for a huge surprise after viewing the tape. These mental and physical events have come about and are related directly to both ladies' psychiatrist--the creepy Dr. Mark Ahriman. Ahriman is the son of a renowned (and dead) movie director--whose eyes the Doctor keeps in a bottle looking for inspiration. His doctoral specialty is hypnotic-therapy. Do not worry, I have not ruined the surprise by telling you of Ahriman's involvement. Although it takes a couple of hundred pages to establish this, he is not a major character up until this point. The rest of the story involves how they will escape his influence, then expose the Doctor. [End Spoiler Alert]

Here is my simple opinion. This book was just too long (750 pages; paperback). It had redundant scenes, and was fairly predictable. At times, the descriptions was too graphic for me. Outside of the doctor, the characters--though fairly written--are not memorable in anyway.

To make things worse, the climax at the end was interrupted by an obnoxious family quarrel. It is just an awkward interruption to the flow of things. When this is finally over, and the ending resolved, I just did not feel satisfied.

On a positive note, despite the redundant reading, the writing itself--as with most of Koontz's novels--flows very easily. If you are intrigued by the psychiatric aspects of the storyline, as was I, it will keep you reading. Despite the characters as not being very redeeming, you do at times feel the pain that they are going through.

In short, unless you are a Koontz aficionado, then this is not the place to start. If the editor had done his job, it may have improved the story drastically. Nice concept, poor delivery.

More information on False Memory at Amazon.com