Brian Freeman examines the role doctors can play in erasing painful memories–and the problems that may cause–in The Night Bird.
We all have bad memories. Nobody is free from remembering something hurtful, disturbing, bothersome, or saddening. But what if you could have those bad memories erased, or even better, replaced with something else?
In Freeman’s latest thriller, Frost Easton, a detective with the San Francisco PD, links a series of mysterious deaths to one person: a psychologist named Frankie Stein. As it turns out, two victims had turned to Stein to receive a controversial procedure that can permanently erase unwanted memories from a person’s mind. But is that somehow relevant to their deaths?
Easton and Stein team up to try to figure out who is causing her patients to have mental breakdowns that lead to at least one woman jumping off a bridge. The investigation stutters at the beginning because Stein is unwilling to discuss her patients. Easton counters by waiting for someone else to show signs of a breakdown so that he can examine their life for clues that might relate to the other victims.
Eventually, it’s discovered that a mysterious killer known as the Night Bird is behind everything. But as Easton and Stein race to uncover all the clues and stop the killing, they realize they’re caught in an even deeper game and, against their better judgment, might just be playing into the Night Bird’s hand.
The creepy plot twists and turns plenty, as the subject of mind control forces readers to question their own feelings on the matter–among other things. There’s also the question of whether or not memories make us who we really are. Without them, would we be who we are today? That’s one of the many questions readers will be left with upon finishing this book.
As for the plot itself, even with all the twisting and turning early on, the ending is surprisingly simple. Well-read fans of psychological thrillers will have the bad guy figured out early, which, even though the author tried to disguise the villain and cause doubt about the Night Bird’s identity, takes away half of the suspense.
In the end, The Night Bird reads like a very dark crime novel with some Total Recall-like elements that will have you thinking about the story long after you finish it. Not great, but worth checking out if you like similar types of thrillers.
Author: Brian Freeman
Pages: 350 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: February 1, 2017 (Order Now!)