Penguin, Jul 2008, $14.00
English expatriate James Purdew lives with his Dutch girlfriend Ingrid in Amsterdam. , The day before he turns thirty, James is climbing up the stairs in their apartment worried about a seemingly few seconds blackout he just suffered when he hears the phone shrilling. He rushes up the remaining stairs, but misses a step, trips and breaks his ankle. Soon afterward Ingrid walks out on him as he wears a plaster-cast.
Purdew has had some recall lapses so he keeps a journal and begins to read his last entries. He decides to fill the memory gaps of three years ago by writing his Memoirs of an Amnesiac working from the present back a few years. He also goes home to Great Britain where he obtains work on a house renovation project hoping to remember. There he finds a nineteenth century Confessions of a Killer hidden inside a wall.
THE AMNESIAC is an engaging character study starring a fascinating protagonist whose slowly recalling what he forgot and why his brain “erased” the memory. Readers will want to know what caused Purdew to go blank. The story line is fast-paced overall as James begins to learn the truth about himself and the manuscript he discovered, but when he turns reflective he slows down the proceedings. Still fans who appreciate a character driven thriller will want to read Sam Taylor’s insightful look an amnesia victim trying to remember.