St. Martin's Press: 7/12/16
eBook review copy; 320 pages
All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker is a very highly recommended psychological thriller.
Jenny Kramer, 15, is drunk when she wandered into the woods at a teenage party in Fairview, Connecticut. In the woods she is brutally raped for an hour. The rapist wore a condom and shaved all his body hair. When she is at the hospital her parents, Tom and Barbara, consent to the doctors giving her a new drug that will erase her memory of the attack. While Jenny's body heals, she won't have to deal with the psychological trauma. The problem is that the attack left scars, emotional and physical. Jenny is in pain emotionally but because she doesn't remember the attack she has nothing to fight against, except, perhaps, herself.
At the same time Tom is on a vendetta and is determined to find Jenny's rapist and bring him to justice. Barbara, on the other hand, is a master at splitting her personality into two people. She wants their lives to all continue as if nothing happened. Barbara has never dealt well with the pain from her childhood and she is unable to see/accept Jenny's pain. Jenny is angry, and emotionally distraught. She knows something happened to her, but she can't remember it. The town knows something happened to her and they do remember.
The narrator of the novel is Dr. Alan Forrester, the family's psychiatrist. He eventually has Jenny and both of her parents under treatment. He also shares some of the stories of other patients he has had that shed some light on their circumstances - or his involvement. He is a rather smug, self-important man and, for at least half of the novel you can't tell if he is a reliable narrator or not. He is nonjudgmental as he discusses events. His main stated goal is to help Jenny.
This dark psychological thriller will slowly surround and ensnare you. There is more going on than it appears, and secrets are slowly revealed. Even after you think you have something figured out, trust me, you don't. You really won't know the whole story right until the end. All Is Not Forgotten required slow, careful reading. I was actually surprised it wasn't a longer novel when I noticed the number of pages. It is a page turner, but it is a dense, complicated novel too.
The writing is outstanding. Walker presents an intelligent plot that is carefully crafted to slowly release just enough information. The narration by Dr. Alan Forrester is pitch-perfect. He's egotistical, kind of creepy, and a didactic know-it-all. He's the professional with the inside information of each individual and he's the one who is going to slowly tell you what he wants you to know when he thinks it is time. By the end I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this dark thriller and its twists and turns.
Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.