Review by Tony McFadden, author of “Daly Battles: The Fall of Pyongyang”
Title: Lost in Thought
Author: Simon Townley
Publisher: Beardale Books
From the “back cover”: A secret that could change the world is lost inside Richard Trescerrick’s comatose mind. The only hope – the Brainscape device, an experimental mind-link technology and doorway to the subconscious.
Estranged son Luke risks his life and sanity on a mission to wake his father, retrieve the algorithm, unmask a killer and expose a conspiracy.
But in the labyrinth of the Brainscape, death is real. Enemies lurk behind every memory. Secrets spawn riddles wrapped in metaphor. Stories come alive. And monsters are made flesh.
“Lost in Thought” is a psychological thriller, the bastard child of Inception, The Cell, and a little bit of The Matrix.
Luke Trescerrick is in a bad place. His mother is dead, his father, Richard, is emotionally unreachable and his young son, Daniel, is possibly autistic and definitely in need of professional help. When it can’t possibly get worse, he’s evicted from his crappy little Cornish cottage by his father, who then is a victim of a home invasion, left in a coma.
It’s the coma that is the centrepiece of the novel. The coma, and Brainscape – a device invented by his father to enter the (sub)consciousness of others.
Richard kept a key part of the device secret. His business partner is keen to use Brainscape to go in and try and find the key. Medical professionals are interested in seeing if Brainscape can help lift Richard out of the coma and the police, specifically one eager, ambitious Detective Inspector Yvonne Warren, is very interested in the potential investigative powers of the tool.
They enter Richard’s subconscious and embark on a journey of ego, super-ego, id, metaphors and archetypes, all running around in the fantastic world of Richard’s imagination and memories.
After a bit of a slow start (not so slow that I was tempted to stop reading), the pace quickly picks up once the band of not so merry men and women start traversing the brain. Townley does a good job of creating the main characters – Luke, his father, Cate the psychologist and Dubois, the business partner, are real. The worlds are real. At least as real as imaginary worlds can be, and the premise of summoning metaphors and archetypes move around and solve problems while inside the subconscious is genius. And the ticket out, a brilliant idea.
Townley does a great job with this book. Structurally there is nothing wrong and Luke’s evolution is a very well-defined arc. A strong four stars. I’m looking forward to reading more of his work.