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Taylor, Sam - 'The Amnesiac'
Paperback: 400 pages (June 2008) Publisher: Penguin ISBN: 0143113402

James Purdew lives with his Dutch girlfriend Ingrid in her flat in Amsterdam. He breaks a bone in one of his feet and is off work. He starts to question his memory, particularly three missing years. Ingrid gets a job near her parents, and James is offered a position in her father's business. The implication is for them to settle down into married bliss! James prefers not to do that. Instead he journeys back to Britain to the town known as H to try and find out what happened in his missing years.

Not really a detective book as such, although by stretching a point you could say the detection is in finding out what happened in the missing years and particularly to a girl called Anna. It is more about memory and the tricks that time can play. I'm not sure if H represents Hull, it is a coastal town and one of his haunts the Polar Bear pub is located there, but very little else matches up so we have to assume H is mostly fictitious. An address in Lough street figures in the story as somewhere James remembers, and it is also the scene of a suicide by a young male student. Certain characters appear and seem to have two identities, partly to do with a discovered nineteenth century manuscript.

It is not a book I enjoyed, it rambled too much and was less a eurocrime type book than a gothic tale. This appears to be the author's second book and this is the American edition, following on from its UK publication in 2007. He is a former pop culture correspondent for the Observer newspaper in London but now lives with his family in France.

Geoff Jones, England
August 2008

More crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 16/08/2008 12:31