Title: All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 319 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
It begins in the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut, where everything seems picture perfect.
Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, struggles to pretend this horrific event did not touch her carefully constructed world.
As Tom and Charlotte seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town – or perhaps lives among them – drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.
All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker is a gripping mystery that has an unusual premise and a unique narrator.
Fifteen year old Jenny Kramer is brutally raped and in an effort to spare her the psychological trauma of the attack, her parents make an unorthodox decision to erase her memories of the assault. The controversial treatment blocks the memory of the act but as Jenny and her family soon discover, the accompanying emotions are still keenly felt. Without a tangible event to attach these feelings to, Jenny suffers from residual fear and anxiety. After a desperate attempt to end her torment, Jenny’s family turns to Dr. Alan Forrester, a local psychiatrist who is also treating another patient that was given the same drugs as Jenny. Due to Dr. Forrester’s limited success in helping war veteran Sean Logan retrieve his memories of the attack that left him an amputee and took the life of a fellow soldier, the Kramer family is hopeful that he can help Jenny remember the details of the rape and possibly identify her attacker. At the same time, the police are finally making progress on the case but outside interference soon hinders the investigation.
Written from the point of view of a very surprising narrator, All Is Not Forgotten unfolds at a steady pace. The narrator is unemotional and distant as the details of Jenny’s attack and the months leading up to her therapy are slowly revealed. While this technique is a little off-putting initially, it does not take long to get used to this somewhat unusual form of narration. The flow of the story is sometimes interrupted as the narrator reveals tantalizing bits of information then backtracks to explain how these details were discovered. While it appears the storyteller is an impartial observer, the narrator’s careful parceling of information keeps readers off balance and wondering whether or not this person’s account of events is truly unbiased.
With a cast of flawed characters, jaw-dropping revelations and shocking plot twists, All Is Not Forgotten is an intricately plotted, suspenseful mystery that is impossible to put down. Wendy Walker makes an unusual choice for a narrator but this atypical narration is what makes this novel stand out in the mystery/suspense genre. A thought-provoking, riveting novel that I highly recommend to readers who enjoy a twisty, turny psychologically complex mystery.