Title: The Memory Agent by Matthew B.J. Delaney
Date Published: 18th July 2017
Crime never changes. Punishment does.
In a time when prisons no longer contain inmates behind concrete and steel, the convicted serve their time while asleep, rehabilitating in virtual reality while blissfully unaware of their crimes.
Roger Parker is a professional prison breaker, skilled at navigating these strange penal dream worlds and extracting those imprisoned there—for a price. Parker wants out of the game, but a powerful senator, desperate to save his son, convinces Parker to pull one last job. The clincher? An opportunity for Parker to find his wife, herself interned, lost somewhere in a treacherous, time-shifting Manhattan cyberscape.
As Parker and his team make their hallucinatory journey between worlds, memory and motive lose coherence and integrity, and the clock begins to run out: internal security detects the breaker, and sets out to remove him—permanently.
Unable to rely on his perceptions, unsure of the truth or even his very identity, will Parker break out…or be broken?
The story begins in Cairo in the year 1933. Roger Parker thinks that he and his team are about to unearth an ancient Egyptian tomb but instead they find an underground city, New York City to be exact but not from 1933 but far into the future.
But there’s something lurking in the city, something that doesn’t want them there. Memories start to come back to Roger. He’s not an archaeologist but a prison breaker trapped inside a high tech prison, a prison of the mind, and he’s about to attempt the most dangerous mission of his life, to save his wife.
Wow there’s a lot crammed into this novel! Different eras in history, monsters, gun fights and at the beginning a little bit of Indiana Jones action in the desert. It also had a slightly creepy uneasy feeling to it at times, I genuinely never knew what was going to happen next.
The story has quite a lot of layers and the time line does go backwards and forwards as Roger discovers his memories, it is a little hard to keep up sometimes! I was very intrigued though, I had to know what happened at the end of the book.
But this is not a quick read, in fact at times it felt like a bit of a chore to get through. I think the author should have divided it up better, it’s only eight chapters but a couple of the chapter took me over an hour to read. I think it could have benefited from shorter sharper chapters. I also felt a little disconnected from the characters, like I never really got to know them properly or invested in them emotionally.
Overall I very intriguing novel but the slow pace of the story lets it down.
Matthew B.J. Delaney published his first novel, Jinn, in 2003. Winner of the International Horror Guild Award, the novel was optioned for film by Touchstone Pictures, was featured as People magazine’s “Page-Turner of the Week,” and received a Publishers Weekly Starred Review.
Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, he left a career in finance and moved from Boston to New York City to join the New York City Police Department. He has been a member of the NYPD for twelve years, and he continues to write in his spare time.