The novel starts out describing the police finding Dr. Abbie Adler in a catatonic state in her vehicle in a deserted area. The story then goes back to the beginning, telling a dark story that leaves you guessing as to how it will end.
‘Tortured Memory’ focuses on the subject of child sexual abuse. It’s a difficult topic to read about, as we all just wish it didn’t even exist. In this novel, we learn that the Chabot Park strangler is preying on young females. Two young girls have already fallen victim to this animal, and both of them happen to have been patients of Dr. Abbie Adler– a victim of sexual abuse herself (at the hands of her father). Since both girls were patients of Dr. Adler’s, she begins to believe that the killer is someone she knows– possibly even a patient. With so many characters in this book that ‘could’ have committed these crimes, it makes the suspense that much more frustrating, and I couldn’t wait to find out how it would end.
Because it is a suspense/mystery/thriller, I won’t give much more detail away. This novel is a page-turner, for sure– and really, played out like a good movie script.
So, you might ask — why only 4 stars?
Well, here’s why:
The one part of the storyline that kept bothering me was that Adler, a victim of sexual abuse herself, had chosen to go into the field of psychiatry to work specifically with sexually abused children. Because of the horrific abuse she suffered, it seemed odd that she would choose to counsel girls while having her past continually resurface on a daily basis. Adler deals with a lot of anger towards her father, to the point of wanting to physically harm him, and she is also in counseling herself. This was a bit unbelieveable, however the anger towards her father does play a role in the storyline of the book.
Another issue with the book was more my own personal experience with reading it. As much as I enjoyed the novel, there were a lot of characters to keep track of. I felt like there were so many characters (Abbie, David, Ben, Keaton, the Hills, Marcus, Taylor, Richard, and more!) in the storyline, it was difficult to connect with any of them–even Dr. Adler herself. While reading, I had to stop several times, and ask myself, “Now wait– who is that again?” I realize that the introduction of so many characters was somewhat essential to the story, but it could probably be considered overwhelming at times. I often wondered how Gold kept track of all these people as he was writing it? (I picture a big huge white board in his office!)
And another thing that bothers me, but I won’t blame this on the author… the cover of the book says the title is called “Tortured Memories” yet the author and everywhere else calls it ‘Tortured Memory.’ Not enough to really have any bearing on my review, but I’m a stickler for good editing. And the story itself more than made up for this.
Disclaimer: I was given this book in exchange for reading & reviewing it. Opinions expressed here are my own, and were not influenced by anyone.