Book review: The Last Thing I Remember by Deborah Bee

The Last Thing I Remember byDeborah Bee
The Last Thing I Remember byDeborah Bee

‘I am a thought, lost in a dark, empty room, forgotten in an abandoned house.’

Sarah’s existence is a nightmare. She’s locked in a coma, her memory has been wiped out, she can’t see or speak, but she can think and hear others talking.

And what she has learned is that her brain injury wasn’t an accident… even worse, her life could be under new threat from a mysterious stranger visiting her hospital bedside and she can’t scream for help.

In a stunning debut thriller brimming with spine-tingling tension and more twists and turns than a snakes and ladders board, Deborah Bee takes an original and intriguing premise and works up an electrifying story packed with dark secrets and shocking revelations.

Sarah doesn’t know how she came to be lying in a hospital bed. Unable to communicate in any way with those around her, whether that is the medical staff or her visitors, she must try to piece together from their conversations what brought her to this helpless state.

Through snippets overheard from doctors, nurses, her parents and from her own flashbacks, 28-year-old Sarah discovers that the police believe she must have been mugged and that the assailant hasn’t been caught.

Trapped in limbo, Sarah also learns much about her forgotten life during regular visits from her next door neighbour’s feisty, provocative teenage daughter Kelly whose tough exterior hides a touching vulnerability.Fourteen-year-old Kelly, we discover, had developed a close attachment to Sarah and it is her account of their friendship which provides tantalising insights into the truth about events.

But Sarah is desperate and terrified… desperate to persuade the doctors not to give up on her life, and terrified of the mystery man whose presence is an ever-constant threat.

Written with the style and assurance of a seasoned author, The Last Thing I Remember is a gripping, superbly plotted, rollercoaster story, an addictive page-turner which revolves around the alternating narratives of Sarah and Kelly.

The slow unfolding of past events and hidden truths is superbly handled, with the accounts of the two unlikely friends converging into a devilish final twist that is guaranteed to leave readers breathless.

Fast-paced and psychologically astute, this is an imaginative and intelligent debut from an exciting new author.

(Twenty7, paperback, £7.99)