The Last Thing I Remember is the latest novel from Andrew Klavan. Klavan has been praised by the likes of Stephen King for his originality.
The story begins with seventeen year-old Charlie West waking up in a nightmarish torture room with no memory of how he got there. The last thing he remembers is going to bed, after an eventful, but seemingly ordinary day. He does a karate demonstration at school, gets the phone number of his dream girl, and gets in a nasty argument with his former best friend. As Charlie struggles to make sense of what is happening to him he overhears men outside the door and one of them orders the others to kill him.
The story is vaguely reminiscent of the Bourne Identity. Charlie manages to escape his captors, but has no memory of anything that would tell him how he got into his current situation. He’s a black belt in karate, a skill that aids him greatly in his escape. The first part of the book flashes virtually chapter for chapter between Charlie’s escape from the torture room and his memories of what he thinks is the day before.
As the novel progresses Charlie learns that more than a year has passed and he has no memory of it. He goes to the police for help only to learn he escaped from prison and that he was convicted of brutally murdering his friend.
With the police on one side and a terrorist organization on the other, Charlie tries desperately to unravel the mystery and put the pieces together.
While the premise is interesting, the novel is clearly designed as the first cliff-hanging installment in a series. The first half drags a bit and some of the events stretch believability.
Once the book reaches the halfway point it picks up and moves at lightening quick speed. Charlie uncovers a conspiracy, saves the day and then the book ends, with virtually nothing resolved and a perfect setup for a sequel, which is due out in February.
While the novel feels as though it was part of a larger work that was chopped up it was still an interesting read and I flew through the last hundred or so pages in a single sitting. I can honestly say I’ll probably pick up the sequel.
For fans of action stories with lots of fights and explosions, The Last Thing I Remember is sure to please.