A typical day in my life is a lot more memorable than most. Not that my life is any more exciting than anybody else’s … most of the time. It’s just that since the age of 11, I’ve been blessed – or cursed – with hyperthymestic syndrome, otherwise known as superior autobiographical memory. I remember every single detail of every day I’ve ever lived, be it mundane, thrilling or somewhere in between.
Hard as I work at my job as a private investigator (my specialty is missing persons) it’s difficult to get from point A to point B without memories intruding. I remember with all five senses, reliving experiences in the most visceral way. And while it’s proved helpful in certain cases I’m investigating, it’s wreaked havoc on my personal life. How can you forgive and forget when you can never forget? How can you “live in the moment” when the past is a constant companion? I’m divorced, but I can’t be in the same room with my ex-husband without remembering all kinds of things I shouldn’t. Outside of my brilliant but ridiculous assistant, Trent, it’s very hard for me to form ties with people, knowing every single moment with them will endure forever in my mind.
In short, I’ve got some major issues…
My 13-year-old daughter Maya resents it sometimes. How could she not? Kids need their moms to pay attention to them. And while I want so badly to be there for her all the time, past events keep intruding. The specter of my older sister Clea — who disappeared when I was 11 years old, triggering the syndrome – haunts our lives. Maya never knew her aunt, of course. But she still makes her angry in a way that only the lack of a person can.
When Maya goes missing herself, my entire world collapses. Leveled by guilt and terror, I need to stay in the present in order to find her – even as I discover new and shocking things about my sister’s disappearance that may actually play a role in Maya’s. As I desperately try to track my daughter, will my memory prove a curse or a blessing? I’m hoping hard for the latter…
You can read more about Brenna in Stay With Me, the third book in the “Brenna Spector” mystery series, published by HarperCollins. The first book in the series is And She Was. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.
Meet the author
USA Today and international bestselling author Alison Gaylin received an Edgar nomination for her first book Hide Your Eyes. Her Shamus Award-winning novel, And She Was, was also nominated for the Thriller, Anthony and RT awards. In addition to her six published crime fiction novels, she’s published the Young Adult mystery Reality Ends Here (Simon and Schuster/PocketStar). Stay With Me, her eighth book – and the third in the acclaimed Brenna Spector series – was released June 24, 2014 from HarperCollins.
Follow dru’s book musing on Facebook for posting about discounted books, giveaways and some of my reading musings.