Title: False Memory
Author: Dean Koontz
What's it about?
Martie and Dusty find themselves players in a game, a game they never asked to play and to take matters worse, they aren't the only ones. It's a whirl wind of a final round in which everyone will be named a victor or one of the defeated. The prize, is the getting to live another day. The cost of losing is, well, not living another day.
It all starts one innocent day. Martie and Dusty wake up and begin the day in the normal way, get ready for work, walk the dog, take a friend to the doctor. Nothing out of the ordinary...until Martie is struck with an odd feeling of fear and anxiety that won't be ignored, one of Dusty's employees decides he'd rather day then continue on this Earth and Martie's friend reveals a secret that will everyone, even the reader, in a state of unease. After that, there is nothing "normal" about the day as each character fights to navigate through a day like none they've ever had before, overcome fears and face their weaknesses. Unfortunately, the next day only adds to the chaos of unexpected oddity in unbelievable proportions. Soon Dusty and Martie find themselves and their loved ones against an opponent with the scariest weapon imaginable...their own minds.
Favorite Part: Surprisingly, I didn't have a favorite part, per say. Instead, I had favorite character combination/interactions. I really enjoyed the interactions and conversations between Skeet and Dusty as well as Dusty and Martie. These were the moments that I found to be my favorites.
Least Favorite Part: My least favorite part was, far and away, the part in which the bad guy is revealed. Now, initially, I liked the review. I liked that they revealed the enemy fairly early on, confirming suspicions (or denying, depending on what your suspicions were) and allowing you to, then, be inside the enemy's head, too. However, the scene in which the reveal was made, went from a "Oh! that's the enemy! I knew it!" moment to, "Really? You didn't need to go that far! I mean if you had just stopped two steps back, you could have achieved the goal just fine!" It was a potential trigger for some, disturbing and even sickning. Really, I found myself anxious about reading after that for fear of another, similar scene. Thankfully, that was the worse of it all with no encore performance!
Favorite Character: I had two favorites this time and, I'm pretty sure I liked them both for similar, if not the same reasons. Dusty and Skeet both wound their ways into my heart. They were quirky (especially Skeet, though Fig was pretty great as a quirky character, too) but full of heart. They knew who they were, knew who the world saw them and knew who they didn't want to be, even though they both questioned those facts between he covers of this book. They were human. They were complex, even though they didn't initially seem very deep and complex. They were flawed but loveable. They asked the big questions. They made stupid choices sometimes. I loved their interactions, their perception of the world and, maybe more then all of it, the scence of innocence they managed to maintain even after learning their back stories and seeing them go through what can only be described as hell.
Least Favorite Character: I'm sure your expecting me to say the enemy. Well, I'm sorry to disappoint, but that's not actually my least favorite character. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but it's not. My least favorite is actually the lady in the pink, and no, it's not because I'm not a fan of pink. No, I dislike her because she lacked depth. She came off as being entitled, snobby, spoiled, stuck up and obnoxious. Now, I know that at least some of that was by design, and I can respect that but it doesn't change my dislike for her. I have so little understanding of her with little to no chance to really improve said understanding while the enemy intrigued me. I was curious, interested and the worse part about being in the enemy's head was scenes like when the identity of the enemy was revealed. Of course, that could be the psych side of me showing itself again.
In addition, I'd like to add Dusty's mother to this list as well. While normally I would tell you all the reasons I don't like her, this time, that would include spoilers but let me just say that she's narcissistic and selfish, power hungry, evil and cruel while lacking the ability to love. However, I'm not sure I would go as far as to call her a psychopath, I do think she is so very messed up.
Favorite Quotes: In these 627 pages, I found myself rereading lines because I liked the way Koontz worded descriptions and even thoughts of the characters, however few of those lines struck me the way I tend to expect a line to hit me to share in this section of my reviews. But then, as I lost hope...I found these jewels.
"Life was too short to dwell on nightmares instead of dreams." (pg. 541) I think this hit me becuase...well...it's 2020 after all. We can all sit around and whine about how different things are and how much we dislike them. We can complain that the store doesn't have the brand of toilet paper we favor, but how far will that get us? Nowhere. Why focus on those nightmares and the less the perfect parts of our daily lives when we can look forward, dream and chase those dreams to help our lives, and hopefully the world, become a better place.
"He was the lord of memory, father of lies and he could meet any challenge." (pg. 532) Honestly, there's no profound meaning that hit me when I read this. Nope. I just read that and thought, "That sounds like a super villain description!" No, really. Read it again. It totally sounds like the bio of a super villain! Though, my son said that sounded like the description for satan and, honestly, I'm not sure that's far off, either.
"Yea. Because tonight I was that drawing. I always thought I knew exactly who I was. Then a simple shift of perspective and I see a different me. Which one is real and which is fiction?" (pg. 543) I just loved this revelation gotten from a painting Dusty saw long ago. I thought it was almost poetic in its truth and, let's be honest. We question who we are fairly often in life, and how to know who is really us and who isn't.
Overall, this book was somewhat disturbing, intriguing and almost puzzling. The story itself wasn't the fastest moving story I've ever read, yet I was hooked early on and found myself always wanting to go back to learn more, find more pieces of the puzzle and put them together. It wasn't, usually, overly surprising but that didn't seem to matter. I liked the characters and the psychological aspect was really interesting, though I may forever question every person in my life from now on. (Would it be weird to ask them safe questions every time they reappear in my presence just to be sure?) While I don't know that I would say that I love this book, but I truly enjoy reading it and may, in the future decide to read it again.
While I do sometimes find bouncing from one character to another slightly confusing, even when done well, this time it always felt pretty smooth. I didn't' often feel as if I had to do any investigation to determine who's mind I was in and who's I wasn't and they each felt like their own people. They all had a strong enough personality that their inner voices sounded distinct.
All in all, I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers and having your mind messed with a little. It's worth at least one read!
What do I rate this?
I rate this a
But that's just what I thought and, let's face it, I'm just one person! What did you think? Did you read it? Did you find someone else to be the least favorite person? What part did you love? Let me know down in the comments!