Unknown by Chris Martin

Unknown by Chris MartinThis thriller does an excellent job of portraying the confusion of amnesia without losing a feeling of narrative progress. While it is not the same type of amnesia it reminded me of Memento.

This book is the first part of the True Identity series. The story opens with the protagonist awakening in a meat locker of a pizza parlour with almost complete amnesia. Greeted with violence by the owner almost as soon as he emerges, he is saved by a mysterious man who seems intent on kidnapping him. Driven from place to place by threats and unsubstantiated claims of friendship he struggles to recover enough fragments of his past to pick a side.

I found this book to be well written with solid believable characters. The protagonist’s recovery of fragmentary memories and commensurate transition from a reactive to proactive strategy was very well told.

However there were two imperfections. First the protagonist suffers two moments in short succession where he has not noticed something straight away. Although it is believable he would not have been consciously aware, the description of the two events is almost identical giving a repetitive feeling; this created a false image of the protagonist as someone who habitually does not pay attention.

Second, and more seriously, the ending – while entirely consistent – is a cliff-hanger rather than a resolution of the protagonist’s immediate situation. This made it feel like and episode of a serial and not the first part of a series.

I enjoyed this short story. However, I would not recommend reading it until you have the rest of the series if you are the type of person who has to know how things end.

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