By Tami Hoag
Published by Orion Publishing Group (15 January 2015)
Surviving the nightmare is only the beginning…
Dana Nolan was a promising young TV reporter until she was kidnapped by a notorious serial killer. A year has passed since she survived the ordeal, but Dana is still physically, emotional, and psychologically scarred, racked with bouts of post-traumatic stress disorder and memory loss. In an attempt to put herself back together after surviving the unthinkable, Dana returns to her hometown. But it doesn't provide the comfort she expects: she struggles to recognise family and childhood friends and begins experiencing dark flashbacks. But she's not sure if they're truly memories or side effects of her brain injury.
Dana decides to use her investigative skills to piece together her past and learns of the events that made her become a reporter in the first place: the disappearance of her best friend, Casey Grant, the summer after high school graduation. Looking at her past and the unsolved mystery through the dark filter of her shattered psyche, old friends seem to be suspects, authority figures part of a cover-up. Dana begins to question everything she knows. What is real? What is imagined? Are we defined by what happens to us? And is the truth really something too terrible to be believed?
I received an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The book starts off with an account of a violent act: a severe attack by a serial killer that results in the victim's disfigurement and brain damage. Unlike many other thrillers, this book concentrates on the aftermath of the tragedy and how the victim copes with getting her life back.
After the attack, Dana was left with her memory in tatters. Now a year on, she begins looking into a cold case - the disappearance of her best friend 10 years ago- in order to give her own life meaning and her days purpose. As she comes into contact with people from her past, it's as if she is meeting them for the first time. So she doesn't know who to trust and has no idea that her own life may be in danger. As she pieces together the past, snapshots of her memory slowly return, leading her closer to the truth.
The book was an easy read and came to a satisfying conclusion with revelations about the past. It provided an insight into post-traumatic stress disorder due to brain injuries caused by both criminal and military acts of violence; in particular, how the post-brain injury person is often not - and never will be - the same as the pre-brain injury person remembered by friends and family.
I have read a few Tami Hoag novels and look forward to reading more in the future.