This title may be purchased from Amazon (and is available in KU)
Jay has a nice wife and a nice life with a nice house and a nice job in the very nice city of Seattle. Except he’s beginning to suspect that none of that is true. If he has a wife, why can’t he remember marrying her? And why does trying to remember make his head hurt?
Deron knows he shouldn’t be in Seattle. Giving into his need to check on the man who once belonged to him could put a complicated cross-agency investigation at risk. All he wants is one little peek. He didn’t expect Jay to recognize him or for the two of them to get shot at on the streets of Seattle.
Jay’s suffering from a case of amnesia only he can cure and is at the heart of a mystery only he can solve. Too bad he doesn’t know any of that. But there’s one thing he does know: Deron. His memory may have been removed, but his soul will never forget its mate.
Can he remember everything else in time to save both their lives and possibly an entire country?
Forget I Told You is a standalone mystery/romantic suspense novel with an intriguing premise that, while it has a number of flaws, is a fast-paced and suspenseful story that kept me guessing and eagerly turning the pages. It does require a fairly large suspension of disbelief, but no more than that needed for many of today’s films and TV shows.
Therapist Jay Burgess has, as the book synopsis says, “a nice wife and a nice life with a nice house and a nice job in the very nice city of Seattle.” So why is it that he’s starting to feel that no matter how “nice” his life is… it’s not his life at all? He’s married to a lovely woman he’s not the slightest bit attracted to, and not only that, he can’t remember their wedding, or the proposal or indeed anything about his life other than a series of facts and figures he’s started to think of as “recordings”. He knows his parents are dead but can’t remember how he felt when they died; he knows the date of his wedding, but not how he felt on his wedding day… nothing about his life makes sense until he sees the man with the snake tattoo in the coffee shop. Over the past few months, Jay has come to the realisation that he’s almost certainly gay – he and his wife have been discussing divorce – and now, more than ever, he’s convinced of it. On this particular day, he’s drawn to the guy in the coffee shop in a way he can’t remember being drawn to anyone; it makes no sense, but Jay has to talk to him and follows him outside hoping to get his number and maybe go for a drink together. But the guy – who gives his name as Deron – shuts him down and walks away, telling Jay he should go back to his wife.
Deron Jackson knows he shouldn’t be in Seattle but he can’t resist the opportunity to see the man he loves. He hadn’t intended for Jay to see him, much less speak to him – and clearly Jay is starting to remember things he shouldn’t, things which, if he remembers them fully, could put him in serious danger. Another chance encounter a few days later sees them end up in bed in Deron’s hotel room – a seriously bad move which Deron tries to play down by being dismissive and sending Jay on his way as soon as possible. Jay is persistent and tries to persuade Deron that they deserve a chance to explore this thing between them; he doesn’t understand what Deron tells him about it not being safe for them to know each other – until they’re shot at.
This is an entertaining story with a fairly unusual premise based around memory tampering (it reminded me a bit of Total Recall in that respect!). The author does a good job of conveying Jay’s uncertainty and his suspicions of those around him as bits of his actual memory begin to bleed through the false ones that have been implanted. I was glued to the pages wanting to know who had messed with Jay’s memory and why; the answer is unexpected and the author skilfully builds the suspense throughout the first part of the novel leading up to that reveal. It’s all pretty implausible, but I enjoyed the political thriller aspect of the story (despite its being a little underdeveloped) and liked the extra twist the author throws in at the end when Jay becomes unsure who he can really trust.
But the romantic angle of the story works less well, principally because most of the relationship building takes place off screen before the book starts, so once Jay and Deron get together most of their time together is spent with Deron worrying about Jay remembering too much and trying to protect him. Oh, and their having lots of sex, of course 😉 Perhaps it would have worked better had the author incorporated some flashbacks of their lives before, so readers had a real feel for what the couple had lost, but as it is, there’s a lot of telling rather than showing. The concept of a love so strong it can’t be suppressed and the idea that the heart will always recognise its mate are extremely romantic of course, but there wasn’t a lot of romantic tension or, I have to say, chemistry between the couple. Plus I absolutely hated Deron’s pet name for Jay – Jay-Bae – which was really infantile.
I really liked the premise of the novel, even though things fell down somewhat in the execution, so I’d give Forget I Told You a recommendation with caveats.