Lauren Molyneux reviews a latest bestseller, a mysterious, psychological thriller that almost takes on a life of its own
E. O. Chirovici
‘Some long-gone stories should never come to light, because once they do, they shrivel up like flowers.’
Chirovici’s Bad Blood is a sophisticated psychological thriller/whodunnit, tackling some big philosophical questions regarding the nature of knowing and complex theories of memory and mapping out a rich and complicated plot which will be effortlessly and deliciously devoured in a day.
Following a seminar on human consciousness, repression and lost memories, psychiatrist James Cobb is approached by a mysterious stranger – a dying man who needs his help. Forty years ago, Joshua Fleischer woke up in a hotel room in Paris, covered in blood that was not his own, with the body of a murdered woman in the bathroom and no memory at all of what happened.
Drawn in by the allure of the stranger and intrigued by the case, Dr Cobb agrees to help. Visiting the man at his home and inducing him into a state of hypnosis, he hopes that repressed memories will hurl forth and offer an answer to the question that has plagued his patient for four decades. But when the memories that have been locked in Joshua’s subconscious for years are finally set free, there’s no telling how deep this story could take him.
Told through numerous layers of narration, Chirovici’s mystery almost takes on a life of its own. With several cases of warped and unreliable narrators involved, combined with the consistently residing theme of memory and, more importantly, false memory, the reader is led down a dark path, clutching at straws alongside the characters until the shock revelation appears and the mystery can finally be put to bed.
Cleverly structured and wonderfully written, Bad Blood is as creepy as it is intriguing. As the story unfolds and Dr Cobb finds himself coming closer to the ‘ultimate’ truth of what happened that night in Paris, the closer we come to realising the vast capabilities of the human mind to re-write, alter, imagine and conjure memories of events that simply could not have happened the way that memory dictates.
With twists throughout, Bad Blood will have you chasing leads that amount to nothing, questioning yourself and dismissing leads for reasons you might not be able to explain. You’ll be pointing the finger every five minutes and, once it’s done with, you’ll be flipping back through the pages to figure out at what point you should have realised.