Amnesia

G. H. Ephron, Author Minotaur Books $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-26867-1
Boston psychologist and memory expert Peter Zak pits his wits against time and a brain-damaged woman's faulty recollection to prove a man innocent of a gruesome murder in this fast-paced first effort. Zak, still mourning his murdered wife, Kate, is cajoled into taking on a new case with former sidekicks defense attorney Chip Ferguson and PI Annie Squires (who will remind readers, at times, of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone). Their quest: to show that Sylvia Jackson's memory is as faulty as her accusations against her ex-husband, Stuart, who's in the dock for murdering Sylvia's lover. The plot is compelling, but Zak remains a cipher. We learn only about his ""oversized"" build and his often distracting yuppie interests. The rest of the characters are similarly pale, except for Sylvia and bulimic Maria Whitson, whose sufferings are brilliantly rendered. Later, Maria's entanglements in the Jackson case are skillfully added to an already complex mystery. The depictions of cognitive testing are definitive and dramatic. Ephron exhibits a tendency toward clich , however, and the self-important details of Zak's Cambridge lifestyle are intrusive, particularly if compared to the sophisticated ""Spenser"" standard set by Robert B. Parker. But despite its defects, this debut effort shows promise. If Ephron continues the series, no doubt Zak and his cronies will flesh out, providing mystery lovers with a welcome addition to the genre. Agent, Louise Quayle. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
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FORMATS
Paperback - 44 pages - 978-0-8071-0698-3
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4299-7355-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 320 pages - 978-0-312-98124-2
Hardcover - 64 pages - 978-0-8071-0697-6
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