The Memory Chamber – Holly Cave


The Memory Chamber is published by Quercus on 22 February 2018 and is available to buy here



True death is a thing of the past. Now you can spend the rest of eternity re-living your happiest memories: that first kiss, falling in love, the birth of your children, enjoyed on loop for ever and ever.

Isobel is a Heaven Architect, and she helps dying people create afterlives from these memories. So when she falls for Jarek, one of her terminal – and married – clients, she knows that while she cannot save him, she can create the most beautiful of heavens, just for him.

But when Jarek’s wife is found dead, Isobel uncovers a darker side of the world she works within, and she can trust no one with what she finds…

The Memory Chamber is a thrilling and original story which vaults the reader into a world that is terrifyingly close to our own, where we can avoid everything we fear – even death itself. But can we ever escape the truth?

My thoughts

The Memory Chamber can be described succinctly in three words: strange, predictable and sci-fi.

It is the everyday story of a romance. A woman gets involved with a man. Isobel meets Jarek. This man is dying. He is her client. She is employed to help him create the perfect after-life memories to go in his heaven. It all goes slightly pear-shaped, with murder and infidelity. There is a distinctive sci-fi wrapper to the romantic entanglements. The setting is a distant future, a place where religion is no more. A parallel universe, maybe. The dying, who are sufficiently well off, seek help from heaven architects. This is big business. Solving the death anxiety of atheists. The rest just have to die, without an artificial heaven to entertain them. Heaven architects can take a bundle of cells, do their magic and create re-plays of past events and images. This they can replay to the dead, as an after-life, for eternity. I did not understand the science one bit. It was all a bit above GCSE Science. That is the oddness of this kind of science fiction/thriller cross over. If you understand the gobbledygook, you probably will get more from it. It is an interesting perspective though.

I am not really sure where I stand with this book. I didn’t think it was particularly clever or brilliant crime. It was weird. At the same time nothing happened that I hadn’t anticipated. Without the sci-fi wrapper on it, it is very predictable. I was disappointed with the ending. I would have appreciated a little twist at the ending, as it is trying very hard to be a thriller. Like Yesterday by Felicia Yap, it had the potential to be so much more.

One to go for if you like your mysteries with a dash of science fiction. Just don’t expect anything special. In the crime stakes, it is very mundane.



About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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