By Blake Crouch
In his second novel exploring psychic phenomena and time travel, Crouch takes us on a magnificent journey “seen” through the eyes of neuroscientist, Helena Smith, and police officer, Barry Sutton. As Smith works on a way to stop and/or cure her mother’s Alzheimer’s, Sutton struggles with the loss of his teenage daughter and subsequent divorce.
When Smith is approached by a large corporation with lots of cash to spend on her scientific explorations, she finds herself wrapped up in a program that she never expected. Her knowledge is put to use to reverse time; to allow people to go back and alter the past. Unknown to her at the time, however, is the fact that people who use this ability have false memories of times past. It becomes a national disease: False Memory Syndrome (FMS).
Sutton has seen his share of suicides from people afflicted with this disease. Kidnapped off the street, this shadow organization introduces him to the methodology of the syndrome and afflicts him with it, allowing him to stop time and be sure his daughter is no longer the victim of a hit-and-run. But…what will the consequences be? You see, as time moves forward and the date of her death comes around, Sutton, his wife, and their daughter still all experience memories of her death.
Thrown together, Sutton and Smith become unwitting partners in the fight against FMS. They try to find a way to stop the whole world from extinguishing itself as Smith’s scientific data becomes a weapon in the hands of every government entity.
Crouch gets pretty detailed in the scientific jargon, but never goes so far that the average mystery reader won’t be able to comprehend the plot. In a mix of thriller and science fiction, Crouch definitely shows us how the future “could” be scary as hell.