I’m beginning to hear voices and there’s no one around…/ Reality has always had too many heads. Bob Dylan, “Cold Irons Bound.”
The Forgetting Place: A Novel by John Burley (William Morrow, $14.99, 344 pages)
John Burley’s second novel, The Forgetting Place, is a worthy successor to Absence of Mercy. At first it did not appear as if that would be the case, as the story seemed to meander for a while. But, Burley’s managed to do it again.
Dr. Lise Shields arrives at Menaker, a correctional psychiatric facility in Maryland and becomes embroiled in a massive “cover up” – or does she? That is the question readers are left with when they finish the book. Who exactly are the victims in this story?
The plot is well conceived, but pulling this story off was no easy task. Fortunately, Burley did pull it off. So much so that one cannot be sure with any absolute certainty what did or did not happen. This brilliantly parallels the confusion evident in the minds of the mentally ill that Dr. Shields is or is not treating.
One of the main male characters has a lover, who is a suspected terrorist; the latter winds up being murdered. That’s about all one can say for certain. To go into much greater detail would create too many spoilers for prospective readers of this work.
This is a fine novel, Mr. Burley! If you can keep this going, you’ll wind up with a cult following and perhaps much more.
A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released on February 10, 2015.
“The Forgetting Place is a deep dive into the darkest recesses of the human psyche. Surprises wait at every turn.” Lisa Unger
“Layered and evocative – an intelligent, powerful read.” Sophie Littlefield
“Will send chills down your spine. A taut psychological thriller.” Alice LaPlante, author of A Circle of Wives.
Dave Moyer is an educator and the author of Life and Life Only: A Novel.