Friday, December 19, 2014

The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan

Charlie West just woke up in someone else's nightmare.

He's strapped to a chair.  He's covered in blood and bruises.  He hurts all over.  And a strange voice outside the door just ordered his death.

The last thing he can remember, he was a normal high-school kid doing normal things--working on his homework, practicing karate, daydreaming of becoming an air force pilot, writing a pretty girl's number on his hand.  How long ago was that?  Where is he know?  Who is he really?

And more to the point... how is he going to get out of this room alive?

In My Opinion...

Yesterday, before Charlie West woke bloody, bruised, and tied to a chair (back when sleep used to be one of my top priorities), he was normal (and I wasn’t the least bit tired).  

He doesn’t know how he got to that small windowless room or why he can’t remember.  He only knows that a voice beyond the heavy door just ordered his death, and he doesn’t want to die. 

Definitely not the start of an average day.

Now he’s on the run, desperate to unravel the one mystery he should already know the answers to.  Why were those men chasing him?  When did he become a fugitive?  Was there a mistake – a misunderstanding – or is he the one who’s bad?

I’m not going to lie, after reading the blurb I was pretty sure this was one of those not-my-type-of-scary  books.  But it was on sale.  And I’m a stingy bookworm.  

Do I regret buying it?  No.  No, I don’t.

The story flows fast and furious.  And when it comes to the characters themselves, Andrew Klavan is a master storyteller.  I’ve only ever read one of his other books (of which after the first reading I was traumatized and the second in awe of Klavan’s skill).  His main characters are solid and well-rounded.  Their emotion is raw and real.  We learn a lot about Charlie from his memories of that last day he remembers.  He has flaws, normal everyday struggles, and dreams just like everyone else. 

That being said… Is it suspiciously convenient that Charlie West has a black belt in karate?  Yes.  Extremely so.  In fact, a friend described him as ‘Jason Bourne: Boy Scout’ and honestly that pretty much sums him up.  However, even as he questions who he has become and if this new Charlie West is a good guy or a bad guy, his boy scout mentality makes him an easy character to route for.

Overall, there was never a dull spot where I was like “Okay, I can put it down and go to bed now that I know he’s safe.” No.  It just didn’t happen.  And if it can make me sacrifice sleep (quite a feat, trust me) that’s when I know I’ve got my hands on something special.

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