Review of The Memory Wood – Sam Lloyd

Posted: May 11, 2020 in Review, thriller
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Some nightmares are real.

‘If you’ve only just arrived . . . then why do you want to leave?’

Elissa arrived in Memory Wood on the most important day of her life. The eleven-year-old chess prodigy was competing at the English Youth Grand Prix when she was snatched, and woke up in a makeshift cell underground.

Elijah has lived beside Memory Wood for as long as he can remember. He’s only ten but he’s spent his life so far exploring every inch of it, and that’s how he finds Elissa.

When he appears in her cell, Elissa assumes Elijah will save her; that he’ll run and call for help. But Elijah doesn’t want her to leave.

And not only that, but Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found beneath Memory Wood.

As time runs out for Elissa and her abductor’s behaviour becomes more erratic, she knows she must act. Elissa draws on all her resilience, her powers of logic and her strength to try to outwit Elijah, even as he tries to make her the friend he’s never had. He is her only hope of survival and their deadly game of cat and mouse, of deception and betrayal will determine whether either of them will leave alive . . .

The Memory Wood

Sam Lloyd

Bantam Press

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan Butterworth

Elijah is ten and has lived beside the Memory Wood his whole life, exploring it and learning its secrets.  Sometimes he even make friends with the girls he finds there…….

Elissa loves chess and is competing in English Youth Grand Prix when she goes out to the car park to retrieve an item from her mum’s car.  She is grabbed and thrown into a van, where she passes out.  Upon waking she finds herself blindfolded and chained to a wall in a dank room.  Elissa quickly uses her chess skills to map out the room and assess her situation before encountering her captor, who explains her new reality.  Then she meets Elijah who wants to be her friend…….

Detective Superintendent Mairead MacCullagh is the officer in charge of the police investigation into Elissa’s disappearance, and she’s also dealing with personal problems.

The story is told from the POVs of these these characters, each chapter winding tightly together to tell the tale.  More of the story is revealed slowly in the first half, with subtle little nuggets of information to pick up on that keep leading to surprising discoveries.  The second half is a race against time, culminating in a shocking ending that was a total surprise I didn’t see coming.

Wow!  I’ve just found another must-read author to add to my list.  A dark and creepy psychological thriller, this is an incredible debut novel from a new author, very well plotted and scary.

Read it.  I dare you.

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