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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

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Genre - Thriller
Rating - PG13

A Review of Doppelganger Experiment
By Georgia Saunders

This is a psychological thriller that starts out with a woman, Jane Knox, waking up in the hospital with partial amnesia. That’s certainly not a new opening scene; so I was preparing to get a bit sniffy about the overworked premise. But then the writing pulled me into the hospital until I could smell the medicinal atmosphere and see the nurse working over me efficiently. When an orderly spoke to the heroine about things right out of her dreams – a mysterious green building shrouded in mists of memory – I had to know what the heck was going on, and the “hook” had done its job effectively.
An empathy with the heroine’s sense of the weirdness in her new world is built up through sight, sound, memories and her perceptions of people supposed to be her intimates. The author delivers this distorted world in scenes driven by an increasing suspense.
There was one point where the author nearly lost me, though. It was during the heroine’s detailed description of her home – when she has just come home from the hospital with the stranger they say is her husband. I felt like I was following a Better Homes and Gardens Tour, with detailed descriptions of fabrics and furniture styles that were worthy of an interior decorating catalog. It seemed a bit out of place unless the heroine happened to be an interior decorator who would forget all her serious problems the moment she had some décor to describe; which, of course, she was not. That almost broke the spell for me – almost…but when the heroine went right up to the attic to dig in the old boxes of papers, looking for clues to who was who and what was what, I was pulled back in.
Just call me a sucker for a dusty old box of relics…I grew up on Nancy Drew mysteries, so I’m kind of easy anyway, I guess. Not heart-pounding suspense yet, but, “dogonit, what’s going on here” kind of curiosity. Sinister green building, a dis-remembered husband acting schitzy, an orderly turned stalker, and a sick woman trying to remember how it all fits together – Gosh, I feel that way before I have my morning coffee, you know what I mean? So I could relate!
Mystery piled upon mystery, I read on…and on - entranced in the tale. I won’t spoil anything for you. Let’s just say it was a great and satisfying read.

I would be remiss if I did not mention what I consider fairly glaring grammatical and punctuation errors. They were distracting, to say the least, as I mentally found myself correcting sentences. Had the story been less, those problems may have stopped me from reading the whole book. But the narrative had captured me so strongly that I went on, wondering if perhaps I was the one who was hopelessly out of date.