Into the Dark by Alison Gaylin (♦♦♦½)
As we came to know in And She Was, Brenna Spector suffers from a rare disorder called hyperthymestic syndrome. This disorder prompts Brenna to remember events of her life to the slightest details. A blast from Brenna’s past comes in the form of a case involving a missing web-performing artist named Lula Belle who seems to have surprising knowledge of Brenna and Clea’s childhoods. One must remember that the previous novel, as well as this one, delves into the aftermath of Clea’s disappearance—Brenna’s teenage sister-- when Brenna was eleven years-old.
Performing artist Lula Belle has been missing for two months leaving behind obsessed admirers; one of those is Gary Freeman, a child star agent and the man behind Lula Belle’s internet success. When Freeman uses Brenna’s former employer Errol Ludlow to lure Brenna to the case, a Pandora box is opened for secrets will be exposed and in the process blackmailers will pay the ultimate price. At the end two questions will still remain, who is Lula Belle? And most importantly, what is her connection with Clea?
As in the previous novel, Nick Morasco—detective with Tarry Ridge Police –and Trent, Brenna’s assistant, help Brenna untangle the case…And Nick Morasco and Brenna begin a love affair that was already in the making in And She Was.
I liked this book. The mystery is more absorbing than the one in And She Was, though I recommend reading the previous novel first for there are numerous references to the Neff case that Brenna and Morasco solved previously. As before, the characters are very well developed, particularly Brenna, Trent and Nick Morasco. I really like those three.
Brenna’s memories appeal to me because though they can be triggered by just anything, they are incredibly vivid; they’re like anyone’s memories except that she gets to experience them with all her senses. The reader gets to like Brenna thanks to her disorder because her life must be hard considering she never forgets anything. It’s pleasant to remember the good, but it’s the bad stuff that gets stuck and sucks the life out of someone…And Brenna can’t choose what she remembers.
There were several curveballs in the story, all successful by the way. I liked the ending, though I confess it left me puzzled, but to explain myself is equivalent to spoil the ending and that I can’t do.
“’You need to think about who’s a real part of your life and who’s a memory,’ she said. ‘I’m tired of losing out to your job all the time. I’m tired of losing out to Clea.’” Page 285