Wednesday, September 3, 2008

This isn't just another Black Out

When I think of a black out I think of a night when I slammed one too many tequilas in college. I was partying, laughing and the next thing I know I was home in bed with my make-up stuck to the pillow, the sunlight poking daggers into my eyelids and a blank space where the rest of my night should have been. It was an experience I have been loathed to experience ever again. Imagine for a moment what it would feel like if entire years and events were just gone from your memory. Then imagine that the safety of your family depends on you remembering.
In Lisa Unger’s “Black Out” her character Ophelia is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress syndrome and has holes in her memory. Her mother emotionally abandons her for the love of a convicted death row serial killer. Mom moves them from New York to Central Florida so she can be close to the man of her dreams and assist in appeals which will eventually free him from death row and prison. It is during this time when Ophelia becomes involved with the killer’s son, Marlowe. Let me just say here, “Like Father, Like Son.” Later after being rescued from Marlowe and creating a new life with a new name Annie she realizes one cannot escape the past only reconcile it. The suspense is in the reconciliation.
The story did not flow. It leaped, bounded and skipped across the Past, Present and future, from a trailer park in Central Florida to a tattoo parlor in New York to a cargo ship on the ocean back to a high end neighborhood in South Florida. Not until the very end of the book do all the unrelated bits and pieces come together for a shocking conclusion. This is a tightly drawn suspense novel that had more twists and turns in it that a Gordian knot. There were times while reading this book I wasn’t sure where I was anymore than Annie knew where she was and that was the fun. Who were the good guys? Gray, her husband? Drew and Vivian, the concerned in-laws? Who were the bad guys? Marlowe? Her mother? And the biggest question of all: who was really the victim? I kept turning pages just so I could maybe figure out where reality began and delusion ended. ? I would love to supply more detail and plot but then that would ruin the story and I wouldn’t dream of ruining it for you. The book comes to an end but the story left me wondering. Could there be a sequel? Maybe we will finally find out what happened to Gray’s sister. Where did Ella go? Hmmm….. This is my first taste of Lisa Unger’s story telling and it won’t be the last. Keep ‘em coming Ms. Unger!

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