This is a story about grief. Everyone experiences the loss of a loved one differently, but we all go through grief in the same stages.
Except Ben. He takes the rape and murder of his fiancée badly, unable to let her go. And then, one day as he sits by her grave, a woman says those fateful words. “What would you say if I told you that you could talk to her again?”
And we’re off on a sci-fi look at grief from a different direction. As Ben is drawn more and more into the power of his fiancée’s robotic substitute, his inner struggle to extricate himself becomes more and more distressing, and her character becomes more and more realistic.
The strength of the story is Ben’s personality. He is believable, sympathetic, and memorable. A close second is the development of the personality of his pseudo-fiancée, Carissa. What is so frightening about her is that she is so sympathetic.
If I had a complaint, it is that the other characters could have used more of the author’s attention. They are also beautifully detailed but not so multidimensional. For example, the not-so-mad scientist, Nick, is seen completely from within Ben’s head. Ben doesn’t like him, so he is totally nasty. No saving graces.
But as Ben’s life drops further and further from reality towards the inevitable conclusion, the tension rises and our concern for him is strong. We know it has to happen, we just don’t know how. Like all grief, it seems to get worse and worse until finally one day it starts to get better. If it doesn’t, the results will be tragic.
Highly recommended for those interested in a thoughtful, tense story and in the workings of the human mind.(5 / 5)