By: Wendy Walker
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 7/12/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars +
Top Books of 2016
In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut, 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, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world.
As they 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.
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A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Nice cover!
5 Stars + Top Books of 2016 List.
Wendy Walker delivers one of the most intriguing and innovative dark twisty "Grip-lit" psychological suspense thrillers, ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN with a mysterious delicious unpredictable creepy first person narrator (not identified until chapter seven). —Complex, non-linear narrative, and a brutal crime, crossing fascinating ethical and moral boundaries.
Intricately plotted the devastating impact on a family and their small, suburban Connecticut town of Fairview. When a teenage girl is brutally attacked, and then given a controversial medical drug to erase her memory of the violent assault.
Who is responsible? The monster behind the carving. Remember or forget?
We meet a cast of characters. Each with their own issues, connecting in ways which will blow your mind. Can you ever forget? How are the pieces of the puzzle connected? Get ready for a roller-coaster ride!
Meet the Kramer family:
Tom and Charlotte are parents of teen, daughter Jenny Kramer, and son Lucas (age ten). At a party, Jenny is upset over a boy and storms outside for a good cry, to be alone. The party she had looked so forward to.
Someone is lurking in the dark woods behind the house, watching and waiting (for another victim) and decides to make Jenny his next. Wrong place, wrong time. No one heard her until it was over. A monster. The community was eager to believe it was an outsider, not a resident of their safe small town. The Blue Honda Civic.
"In the wake of every battle, there were left conqueror and conquered. Victor and victim, and that she had come to accept the truth—that she had been totally, irrevocably defeated. Her spirit broken. Her virtue stolen. From fear, terror, agony, acceptance, and indifference, as she shut down. Each piece taken and devoured by this monster."
A brutal rape, the small community is outraged and shocked over this horrendous crime.
The mother, Charlotte is all about appearance and social status at the country club, and does not want this tragedy to overshadow their lives. How would this tarnish their reputation? What is she secretly hiding?
The father, Tom wants revenge, obsessed with finding the rapist, and feels guilt, he did not protect his daughter. Vengeance.
From Detective Parsons, reconstructing the events, forensic evidence, witness accounts, criminal psychologist profiles, and the disjointed fragmented scraps of memory Jenny was left with after the treatment—to have the most horrible trauma erased from her mind.
They say it is a miracle treatment –to have the most horrible trauma erased from your mind. However, it was not a miracle. What was removed from her mind lived on in her body and her soul. Justice was no longer on the table--without a memory. Memories are not static. They change each time we pull them from storage.
Dr. Alan Forrester, a psychiatrist begins to treat the entire family, individually and jointly. The ability to understand suffering. Everyone has plenty of issues and problems. Secrets. Underlying problems in the marriage, and further back to their childhoods, where all martial problems begin.
Childhoods, choices, emotional scars, abuse, fears and their drug of choice—addicts, whether people, obsessions, or need to fill gaps and insecurities in their own lives.
Multi-layered with controversial issues, gray areas, and the pasts of the characters; and a detailed look at the discussions of memory therapy. We also meet Sean Logan who became a patient of Alan’s, seventeen months before he began working with the Kramer family.
Sean Logan was a Navy SEAL. He’d grown up in nearby New London, the same town as Charlotte. His father had been in the Nary and his grandfather had died a decorated marine. Outward appearance he was handsome, witty and his love was deep and pure. His pain was intoxicating.
Anxiety, depression, anger, suicidal thoughts. The drug was meant to reduce PTSD. He had been given a drug previously, that was new and unpredictable. Memories had been stolen. Now lost to his own mind. He had suffered for nine months before being sent to Alan. Jenny Kramer was given the treatment and he was not employed to observe her in the months that followed. Two people in the same town. Escape the pain inflicted by their own minds.
To further drive the novel, Alan works with the correctional facility in Somers. Prison men. Autism. Crimes. Disturbed. Victims before they were criminals. Victims of trauma. Insanity. Violent offenders. From depression to severe psychosis. Abusive parents, or relationships. He provides therapy. (this is all quite fascinating, adding to the intensity).
Then there is Bob Sullivan and Glenn Shelby.
From emerging theories in memory science and the treatment of PTSD with drugs than can lessen the emotional impact of a trauma memory, Walker dives in full force, with detailed research and controversial insights with cases from crime and trauma and how it erases memories.
There is so much here! So glad I did not read the other reviews before reading the book. I liked the mystery behind the narrator. I was like, WTH, who is this person who seems to know everything (all the details) Can you believe him? Creepy. I enjoyed the suspense and mystery. I cannot even imagine how difficult this was to write in this style format.
As the author mentions in an online interview, her take was about telling, not showing. She does not get bogged down with elaborate settings. She achieves her goal brilliantly, by getting into the minds of each of her characters. You are in their heads, their intimate thoughts. You understand and relate to each and every character, while becoming completely invested in their outcome.
Your opinions will change from the beginning of the book to the end—how you view each character. Readers will discover the secrets, lies, hidden truths, motives, infidelities, abuse, anger, and rage behind each of their actions, in this well plotted unique psychological suspense thriller-grip-lit. Lots of juicy twists!
Either the therapist will be telling, explaining, or direct quotes in the form of italics speaking. The injustices of the world. So keep up. Pay attention, readers. Set aside the time. There is a lot of mystery behind the Doc. He is solving the pieces of the puzzle. The vault of secrets. Charlotte will be one to surprise you by the last page (two personalities)—good and evil. Charlotte and the Dr. are the most complex.
While reading was trying to put a finger on other authors which are similar. I usually like to reference other authors. Even though different in some ways, am strongly reminded of Linwood Barclay and Michael Robotham (Joe O’Loughlin Series) —two of my favorite authors, always landing on my top books of the year. (where this one will be landing as well).
In addition, fans of Jodi Picout will enjoy the dark controversial well researched topics. The talented author is an attorney and former investment banker --I think she has a hidden psychology degree.
Emotional, Fascinating, and Darkly Compelling! A thriller you will not soon forget.
A lover of research, I found this study of memories so intriguing! Memory consolidation. The file cabinet. Chemicals in the brain. Metaphors. I have always wondered about blackouts (drinking), and Rohypnol –enables a person to function normally but not remember anything that happened while the drug was in the system. The brain’s filing staff is on a break. Nothing gets filed, and the events are presumably lost, as if they never happened. Short-term memory phase.
It is no surprise Reese Witherspoon's production company has snagged this one! Reese will make a sensational Charlotte, the protagonist's mother. ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN needs to be moved to the top of your list. I have also pre-ordered the audiobook narrated by Dylan Baker.It should be very entertaining.
Can’t wait for Walker’s next psychological thriller. Check Out the latest from Hollywood ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN.
July Top Reads
"Deeply intriguing and provocative, All Is Not Forgotten explores intricate family relationships against the backdrop of searing suspense. A novel filled with twists, surprises, and a plot that keeps you guessing. All Is Not Forgotten is not to be missed." –Karin Slaughter, author of PRETTY GIRLS
"An assured, powerful, polished novel that blends suspense and rich family drama. Built on a fascinating scientific premise and laced with moral complexity, it is, in a word, unforgettable." --William Landay, author of DEFENDING JACOB
“Captivating and bold, Wendy Walker takes an incisive look at the importance of memory and the power of manipulation. Fascinating and at times shocking, All Is Not Forgotten is one book you won’t easily forget. Not to be missed!” –Mary Kubica, author of THE GOOD GIRL
“With an exceptionally unreliable narrator and unique plot set-up, All Is Not Forgotten is a compelling, thought-provoking mystery that will have you looking at every therapist you know in a brand new light.” –Kimberly McCreight, author of WHERE THEY FOUND HER
"In the brutal, heart-pounding All Is Not Forgotten, memory cannot be trusted; when a girl is given "the treatment" to erase her memories of a vicious attack, a small town crumbles under the weight of its secret peccadilloes, dangerous alliances, and the question of what really happened that dark night. A fascinating and compelling novel." –Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, author of BITTERSWEET
ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN by Wendy Walker is heating up Hollywood, optioned by Reese Witherspoon, and creating major buzz within the publishing industry. Publishing July 12, 2016, the provocative psychological thriller asks, "what if you could erase your worst memory?"
About the Author
Wendy is a former lawyer and investment banker who is now a stay-home mother and author. She has two novels published by St. Martin's Press, Four Wives and Social Lives, and also edits for Chicken Soup for the Soul. Read More
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros late last night closed a significant preemptive acquisition of the GG Walker novel All Is Not Forgotten. Warner Bros president of Creative Development and Worldwide Production Greg Silverman was at the center of this one himself, with Reese Witherspoon and her Pacific Standard producing partner Bruna Papandrea producing. Deal happened right after the book sold to St. Martin’s Press following a five house bidding battle, with plans to publish spring, 2017. The author used a pseudonym but she is Wendy Walker, the author of Four Wives and Social Lives, which also were published by St. Martin’s Press. The movie deal was in the mid six figure against $1 million range.
The studio also wants more with Witherspoon and Papandrea, who’ve proven themselves book savvy producers who last year produced both Gone Girl and Wild. They’ve been a catalyst for other movie deals including Fox 2000’s acquisition of Ashley’s War, the Tzemach Lemmon book about an elite group of women who fought alongside Green Berets and Army Rangers in Afghanistan.
Witherspoon is producing, but Warner Bros will court her to play a key role. Book is an adult thriller about a teenage girl in picturesque suburban Connecticut who is brutally attacked and raped, and the secrets that emerge during the course of the investigation. Witherspoon will be courted to play the girl’s mother, who decides with her husband to give their daughter a pill to erase her short term memory so she won’t relive the trauma of the rape.