On the first page of Anders de la Motte’s latest thriller MemoRandom, David Sarac is trying to figure out who he is, why he’s being chased by the police, and what is stopping him from controlling his own car. Before Sarac’s high-speed crash, the reader learns that he is a policeman himself who has just done something unforgivable. A few quick pages later, after the introduction of several more interesting players, Sarac awakens with amnesia, à la Jason Bourne. He recognizes longtime friends and colleagues from the Stockholm Police Force, but has no memory of the last year.
De la Motte uses this somewhat simple and convenient mystery-building plot tool to its utmost, keeping readers hungry for answers about Sarac as he develops other threads with a diverse cast of characters. An imposing Iranian policeman arrives in Sweden looking for those responsible for his brother’s death. Leaders of Stockholm’s criminal underworld meet in an effort to ferret out the identity of a police informant threatening their profits and their lives. A power-hungry politician covers up the circumstances of his mistress’s death.
While De la Motte keeps the pace quick, he only lets details of Sarac’s recent past leak out as if through a dripping IV, keeping the reader desperate for more. By revealing early on that Sarac is a talented detective assigned to handling top-secret criminal informants, de la Motte allows the many storylines to merge effortlessly. Each time a criminal or corrupt cop is connected to the protagonist, the danger builds.
The book prompts the reader to question who is good, who is evil, and to cheer for characters regardless of what is revealed. The story’s setting and the hero’s quest to solve a complex puzzle elicit memories of reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Sarac is on the run, putting the pieces of his fragmented memory back together until the answers come crashing down in a violent finale that satisfies the reader and sets the stage for another book.
MemoRandom cements de la Motte’s reputation as a master of thrills. Readers unfamiliar with the author are sure to track down his previously lauded Game trilogy.
Clay Snellgrove is the author of The Ball Player. He’s a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University. A former professional baseball player, Clay holds an MFA in creative writing from Converse College.
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