On the cover of my copy of `False Memory' is a quote about the author by The Times which states that the author Dean Koontz is :
" Not just a master of our darkest dreams but also a literary juggler"
This is according to me the perfect analysis of not only the authors works in general but also with regard to the book `False Memory'. The novel wraps the reader in a web of literature which makes the reader tense & agog with the happenings......I won't be exaggerating by saying that, the novel felt a lot like a 3D Film with all the special effects courtesy of Dean Koontz who makes the scenario so impressively real &....'happening'. It's a fast paced thriller with enough of shocking material to make it a must read for any reader interested in a good mystery. What is more however, is the dark recesses of the human mind that Koontz allows his reader to get his or her teeth into. Koontz actually through this novel, has given us a glimpse of a very morbid side of the human brain which can stoop to the most gross business possible, just to feel POWERFUL or in control......the deep dark desire inherent in all of us to control & manipulate is seen in `False Memory' & .......it is seriously frightening.
Dean Koontz has done something equal to an exorcist. He has managed to make the evil side of the imagination `talk'. The sordid nature of men in power who we trust with our lives at times (if not all the time) taking us for a ride.....turning us into puppets for their own disgusting pleasurable purposes is gruesome.........but, it is real.......IT HAPPENS.......IT HAPPENED...........IT WILL KEEP ON HAPPENING ! As long as men are power hungry & human life is treated like a mere commodity, `False Memory' can take place over & over again, across borders..........into the very depths of the human brain.
The story puts the reader on target at the very beginning itself in the usual Dean Koontz way, & an ardent Dean Koontz reader will know, the action always begins in the first chapter itself. In the story, we have four people who are connected in a very intricate way. There is Martie who is a well-balanced & great human being, until out of the blue she is diagnosed with autophobia (fear of oneself) ; there is her best friend Susan, who apparently also suffers from a serious phobia called agoraphobia (the fear of open places) & feels that she is being mysteriously sexually violated in her sleep....when there is no one in the house & the doors are bolted ; there is Dusty who is Martie's ever caring & alert husband who is always out to help people, but who cannot get over the fact that he has been having some memory lapses ; then there is Skeet, Dusty's wayward 23 year old brother who is an addict to drugs & suddenly one day plans on finishing himself by jumping off someone's roof. All these incidents are neatly warped up in a maze of deceit & violence beyond ones imagination.
The characterization is excellent but, the character in the book that most intrigued me was the psychiatrist Dr. Mark Ahriman. He is shrouded in mystery although he is the real central character of this whole story & appears in every chapter after the first few three initial chapters. What I appreciate is the way Koontz brings out the terrible side of this man of medicine which results in dire consequences. The doctor himself was a child prodigy but who had a warped sense of living life that clouded his humanity & unleashed his thirst not only for the tears of his victims but also the power to control them. This character brought to my mind the various influential people in today's modern world who have power in their hands.......but do we really know what's really going on in their minds, its eerie & so is Dr. Ahriman.
The novel also brings to light corruption in the medical field where people with influence get away with murder or even child molestation..........or worse! (as in the case of the novel) Such practitioners instead of being on the edge, rather, enjoy themselves in style without the slightest trace of a conscience ; of course, sometimes insanity & warped mentalities does aid to obliterate all reason just like in the book `False Memory'.
There is a contrast of conscience however seen in the character of the ruthless doctor & in Martie , Dusty, Skeet & Susan ; the later four although not highly intellectual, are much better humans than not only Dr. Ahriman but also Dusty's step father whose half crazed world of `ideas' got the whole lot of characters into the mess in the first place. This novel proves that, what the world needs is not intelligent personalities, but people with hearts big enough to save even one life.
The way the author unravels the mystery through the person of the astute Dusty is pure genius & his descriptions are spooky enough to drive the reader into a frenzy if read at night.
Altogether, a very interesting thriller to possess in one's library.