A young man named Troy wakes up with a dreadful headache and a feeling he’s trapped inside something. He hears screaming. He determines that he smells blood and as he feels the area around him, he realizes there’s a body next to him – motionless, no doubt dead, and the source of the blood. He’s not overly surprised – it’s 2001, he’s a combat surgeon still stationed in Afghanistan and it’s becoming clear to him he’s in the trunk of a vehicle. His worse fear is that he’s been captured by the Taliban.
He hears the screaming again and it seems to be a woman in distress. He calls out to her, to alert her that he’s in the trunk. Moments later, the trunk opens. There’s no Taliban, just an attractive young woman named Emmy who’s spattered with blood and holding a gun towards him. It seems she, too, just woke up with a headache and no idea why she has the gun. But at least she knows her whereabouts. It’s 2002 and she’s just a little off course from the streets of Los Angeles, where she’s been living on the edge, struggling to survive.
One of them is wrong about the date and location – or are they both? When they examine the dead man’s body, they find a petrol receipt…from September 2008. And it’s not from Los Angeles or Afghanistan, it’s from the Cayman Islands, where the corpse was a Detective Sergeant.
While they’re trying to come to grips with what appears to be their mutual memory loss, a policeman, Capt. Honey, appears and attempts to arrest them. They move quickly, disable him, and go on the run, knowing it would be assumed they committed the murder of the man whose blood they wear.
Such is the suspenseful beginning to Flash, by author Tim Tigner. Not a moment goes by till the end of the book when readers won’t be shocked, surprised and delightfully entertained. The plot thickens when additional characters are introduced, including a man named Farkas, who was a medical doctor at one time, and his “boss”, Luther. They are involved in a diabolical but ingenious endeavor to use a two-step method to erase a person’s memory. The process started as an experiment in reversing Alzheimer’s, but the intent of using it for good purposes is long gone. Now, with Formula 456, a dose in a vial, followed by a bright UV flash much like a camera’s flashbulb going off, the past can be forcibly forgotten.
Luther is a lawyer, and has been using the flash system to make a fortune by keeping people out of jail. If the people involved in a case can’t remember the charges or details of the case, then there is no case. He’s accumulated millions…but there’s an even bigger plan to come that could affect the whole country.
It appears as Troy and Emmy continue to run, that they are being framed for much more than “just” the one murder, possibly because they’d been on to the scheme. They try to clear themselves and find out who and what is behind their memory loss, while the people who are responsible scheme to find them and keep them from finding out any more – at any cost.
The book has an extensive cast of characters and intrigue on every page, and Tigner handles it all extremely well. It’s not surprising to learn that he was once part of the Green Berets and specialized in counterintelligence. In the midst of the twists and turns in the book, though, he’s even added a nice romantic sub story, as well.
Flash is fast-paced and mysterious and highly recommended.
Published simultaneously at http://www.bookpleasures.com.