Thursday, March 16, 2017

ARC Review: The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato

The Hidden Memory of Objects
Author: Danielle Mages Amato
Publication: Balzer + Bray (March 21, 2017)

Description: The Hidden Memory of Objects is a highly original and beautifully written debut mystery novel with a speculative element, perfect for readers who loved Gayle Forman’s If I Stay.

Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler, is dead, but the cops are killing him all over again. They say he died of a drug overdose, potentially suicide—something Megan cannot accept. Determined to figure out what happened in the months before Tyler’s death, Megan turns to the things he left behind. After all, she understands the stories objects can tell—at fifteen, she is a gifted collage artist with a flair for creating found-object pieces. However, Megan now realizes that her artistic talent has developed into something more: she can see memories attached to some of Tyler’s belongings—and those memories reveal a brother she never knew.

Enlisting the help of an artifact detective who shares her ability and specializes in murderabilia—objects tainted by violence or the deaths of their owners—Megan finds herself drawn into a world of painful personal and national memories. Along with a trusted classmate and her brother's charming friend, she chases down the troubling truth about Tyler across Washington, DC, while reclaiming her own stifled identity with a vengeance.

My Thoughts: Megan Brown's beloved older brother Tyler is dead. He was found in an abandoned building far from home. The police know that he died of a heroin overdose but Megan can't believe it. That wasn't the brother she knew.

Megan is an artist whose medium is collage. So she goes looking for some of Tyler's objects to try to understand what happened. She feels pain and sees things when she touches some of Tyler's things but first puts it off to grief or medication or maybe a brain tumor. She can't believe that she is seeing the past when she touches things.

Her friend Eric is convinced that she has developed a superpower. Her new acquaintance Nathan who was a friend of Tyler's wants to help her learn more about Tyler but he is only handing out what he knows in bits and pieces. One of the pieces is a much read, annotated, and dog-eared biography of John Wilkes Booth. Tyler was focused on him in the days before he died.

The whole Lincoln assassination figures prominently in this mystery. Megan's mother organizes events at Ford's Theater. One of the people she consults is a noted Lincoln expert who has the same problem Megan does with touching objects that have strong memories attached to them.

This was a fascinating mystery. I loved how Megan learned about her brother and how what she learned changed how she saw herself and how she wanted to live her own life. I loved the information about Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth and the other surrounding characters from that time.

I found the story compelling and couldn't put it down until I reached the satisfying conclusion. Fans of mysteries with a little bit of the paranormal will really enjoy this well-written story.

Favorite Quote:
With one touch, the box had knocked me flat. This made it official: what I'd experienced by Tyler's locker was not a fluke, something brought on by grief and stress and migraine medication. I was really seeing images -- and suffering pain -- when I touched some of Tyler's belongings.
I got this eARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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