14 July 2016

Review #487: The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.”

----Friedrich Nietzsche

Eva Lesko Natiello, an award winning American author, has penned a gripping yet poignant psychological thriller in her debut book, The Memory Box that revolves around a mid-aged housewife with two daughters, who one day, decides to Google her name, that results in the tragic news of her sister's death and that too 6 years ago but this housewife can recall no memory of her sister dying, later more googling results up in even more terrifying and shocking revelations, that this housewife has no memory of ever happening in her life.


What would you do if you Googled yourself and discovered something shocking?

In this gripping psychological thriller, a group of privileged suburban moms amuse themselves by Googling everyone in town, digging up dirt to fuel thorny gossip. Caroline Thompson, devoted mother of two, sticks to the moral high ground and attempts to avoid these women. She’s relieved to hear her name appears only three times, citing her philanthropy. Despite being grateful that she has nothing to hide, a delayed pang of insecurity prods Caroline to Google her maiden name—which none of the others know.

The hits cascade like a tsunami. Caroline’s terrified by what she reads. An obituary for her sister, JD? That’s absurd. With every click, the revelations grow more alarming. They can’t be right. She’d know. Caroline is hurled into a state of paranoia—upending her blissful family life—desperate to prove these allegations false before someone discovers they’re true.

The disturbing underpinnings of The Memory Box expose a story of deceit, misconceptions, and an obsession for control. With its twists, taut pacing, and psychological tenor, Natiello's page-turning suspense cautions: Be careful what you search for.

Caroline Thompson, a dedicated, loving and caring mother of two young daughters, finds herself on the verge of becoming a center piece in her town's gossip, and to save herself from any kind of embarrassment, she googles herself, but that lands up into a lot more trouble. As google displays with the result that her sister, JD, has died 6 years ago and is survived by her two year old daughter, Caroline falls into a huge and deep hole of lies and secrets. Caroline has no memory of her own sister dying or that her sister had any daughter, desperate to get to the bottom of this mystery, Caroline again googles her life, and it results more mysteries that she has no record or memory of. Who is Caroline? What happened to her?

The synopsis sounds very much similar to S. J. Watson's psychological thriller, Before I Go to Sleep, although, this story by Natiello is closer to domestic household, where most of the story unfolds. From the very first chapter itself, I was instantly hooked into its unnerving mystery, and all the while, I could not even once look away from the book, as the story constantly kept playing twisted tricks with my mind. I would like to applaud the author for her efforts and especially for her highly imaginative creativity that knows no boundaries. And with an alluring book's cover image, the whole book turned out to be an addictive read for me.

The author's writing is incredibly polished and is laced with enough tension, suspense, layers, drama with a proper amount of emotions, that will drown the readers into its depth. The narrative is poignant, arresting as well as articulate that the readers will find no trouble in comprehending with. The pacing of the book is swift as the story moves forward with a bone-chilling and creepy factor that will keep the readers glued to the pages of this book till the very end.

The mystery has so many dimensions that are unfolded in a gradual manner, thereby soaring the tension up for the readers, who will be forced to keep guessing and anticipating what happens next. The mind bending as well as the shocking twists and turns will greet the readers chapter after chapter, until eventually the author unravel the climax. And most of the times, it will feel like travelling in a backward motion into the past, more like time travelling into the past, but in a rather slow motion, as each secret is unfolded one stop down the memory land of Caroline after another.

The main character, Caroline, is extremely well developed, whose genuinely shocked and appalled demeanor will develop a strong psychological grip over the minds of the readers. Her twisted past is unrolled one event after another by Google, that Caroline has no idea of. Yet her determined attitude to dig out the secrets that Google displayed against her maiden name, and connect them together to get a larger picture is remarkably striking, and the readers can easily find themselves connecting with this helpless yet dedicated character. The rest of the supporting cast are also well crafted out and make the story interesting with their honest demeanor.

The author has vividly portrayed life in the suburbs, especially the life of a housewife, whose only hobby is to gossip about other people's dirty secrets and past mistakes. It might anger some of the readers, but most of the readers can easily relate to this lifestyle, where a housewife has nothing good to do in her life other than gossiping about neighbors as their husbands are away at work or travelling on work purpose and the kids are in school.

In a nutshell, this story is compelling, dark, complex, and extremely creepy enough to make the readers turn the pages of this book until the very climax.

Verdict: A fun read!

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Eva Lesko Natiello, for giving me an opportunity to read and review her book.

Author Info:
Eva Lesko Natiello is an award winning author and graduate of The State University of New York at Albany with a degree in psychology. Her professional experience includes cosmetics industry Public Relations and Communications executive.
Ms. Natiello is a native of Yonkers, New York and currently lives and writes in suburban NJ, which provides the setting for the fictional town in her debut novel, THE MEMORY BOX, a psychological suspense. It is a recipient of the Houston Writers Guild 2014 Manuscript award. She is particularly fascinated by misconceptions, especially when normalcy appears to be prevalent. This theme carries over to her second novel, currently in progress. When not writing suspense novels, she enjoys writing humorous musings about life’s ironies, which can be found on her blog: writing from the intersection of oops, yikes and awe at evanatiello.com. Her short story, The Wordsmith, was a finalist in The Writer Magazine 2012 Best Short Story.
According to Ms. Natiello, “The sign of a good day is when the creative process in some form—be it writing, painting, or singing—has pried its way into the mundane.” She lives with her husband and their two children.
Visit her here

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1 comment:

  1. Ohh great review this is actually the first time I hear about this book, but it really looks and sounds absolutely amazing! Thank you for your awesome post.


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