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Gary Braver, . . Forge, $25.95 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-0251-9

So many dreams—it's hard to pick out the right one," reads the epigraph from E.B. White for Braver's exceptional medical thriller, a timely story about how the human brain deals with memory, the current possibilities of developing a drug that cures Alzheimer's disease, and how the search for such a drug leads to greed and murder. On a trip back to Cape Cod on the anniversary of his mother's death by drowning, Jack Koryan, a prep school teacher turned restaurant owner, is stung by a school of rare jellyfish, whose toxins send him into a three-year coma. Haunted by dreams and memories that may or may not be real, Jack wakes to discover that he's of great interest to pharmacologist Rene Ballard, who's testing those same toxins on Alzheimer's victims with extraordinarily successful results—though some have also committed acts of inexplicible violence. A strong plotter, Braver writes clear, clean prose that heightens the suspense. Under his expert guidance, Koryan and Ballard explore a scientific mystery that is touching and believable. With this latest book, Braver (Gray Matter ) marks himself as a worthy successor to Robin Cook, Michael Crichton and Tess Gerritsen. Agent, Susan Crawford. (Oct.)