Okay so the main character has spent seven years in a group home for disabled adults when blam – he’s in a car accident and his memory starts coming back in patches. He gets smarter. He also gets a new, better looking face, to replace the bashed-in one he’s been carrying around for those same seven years of bad luck.
Not an altogether encouraging start for a crime thriller. Another lost memory / metamorphosis story and haven’t there been more than enough of those in books and soap operas?
Thing is, author G.M. Ford (great name, huh?) makes it work in Nameless Night. His main character Paul Hardy is believable as he moves from dim witted to a man with some snap, and increasing physical skills. Ford shows not only the change from dependent to competent as it affects Hardy, but how it rewires his relationships with his former caretakers and fellow clients.
By embarking upon a search to find out who he used to be, Hardy sets off all kinds of triggers not only in local law enforcement but at the highest levels of government. Pretty good clue that Hardy was either part of something unusual, or was something special himself. The reveal on who he actually was is a more than satisfying surprise and far from the ordinary. As he journeys across the United States, he picks up temporary partners along the way, each one with a pretty good story of his or her own.
This is Ford’s first stand alone book since his bestselling series featuring sometime journalist Frank Corso (Blown Away) and private detective Leo Waterman (Who the Hell is Wanda Fuca?). It’s a totally satisfying read. I picked it up and finished it a few hours later, which I haven’t done with too many books lately. Now I’m busy tracking back through his previous writing, sure I’ve missed something good. -- Margaret Downing
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