Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dead Wrong by Allen Wyler - Heavy on Corruption and Governmental Criminals, Low on Actual Medical Info...Still A Great Thriller...

When we remember something, what is exactly happening in the brain? It is  which likely that a set of nerve cells connected to each other in a complex way across wide region in the brain becomes activated. As this set of cells fires synchronously or perhaps rhythmically we then consciously perceive the memory.That memory is likely first stored as that particular network of cells is activated by the then current set of sensory and memory stimuli. A new breakthrough study finally is able to prove this hypothesis in the living brain.--http://extremelongevity.net/


The medical hypothesis explored in this thriller is not now possible, although apparently is being extensively explored. If you'd like to know more, I found a lengthy video by NOVA
which is provided to the right... However, this thriller takes a overview approach and thus my review doesn't reflect too much of the approach presented...

Dead Wrong
By Allen Wyler

I was disturbed by the medical hypothesis presented and the rationale presented to and by the government for proceeding with a DARPA grant (The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and the implication of deep pockets with little monitoring, unless somebody's attention had been caught. It is a fear that many Americans have when questioning governmental spending. There is also reference to the ability by many to claim something as "classified" thus allowing the infamous, "It's a matter of national security..." statement to overrule everything else. Let's just say that the Patriot's Act of 2001 has presented unlimited fodder for thriller writers! It's Just My Personal Opinion, of course, but I hope that thrillers like this result in more and more people becoming aware of such concerns, because sometimes Mark Twain thoughts should be remembered...
Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because" Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; 

Trent shook his head. "My son?"
"That's my  understanding."
Trent Baker sighed. "I don't know
what to tell you, officer." He shook
his head again. "We don't have
Bobbie Baker jolted wide awake from a warm, floating sleep, heart pounding, skin prickling, a vague hollowness in her gut warning of something...wrong. What? Someone in the hourse? She listened to a jet roar  overhead on its approach into Seattle-Tacoma International. From the living room an  announcer hawked malt shop love sons from the wonderful fifties...No other sounds.
"Oh, shit!" Jordan? The bottom dropped out of her stomach.
Shit, shit, shit. She'd intended to rest her eyes only for a moment. 
"Jordan? Louder this time. Pushing away the twisted sheets and blanket with her strong arm she glanced around the bedroom. Jordan's toys...where were they?
"Jordan!" ...Other than Jordan's missing toys, the bedroom looked exactly as it had before she nodded off. Yet, something wasn't right. Ah shit. The accordion-style kiddy gate wasn't there...
"911, what's your emergency?" "Help, please help me. My baby boy--someone's kidnapped my baby boy!
This man," Cunningham said with a nod at the
screen, "describes murdering a prostitute. Okay,
so what? We've all seen videotaped confessions.
This one's different. Because in spite of vividly
describing his memory of the incident, he
wasn't there and he's not the murderer. He
doesn't know, and has never met, the person who
actually committed the crime. The man you see
on screen is, instead, a volunteer in a small study
code-named Operation Cuckoo's Nest. The
experiment is designed to test the feasibility of
transferring memories from one person to another
by transplanting small homogenates of the brain.
As fantastic as this may sound, the experiment
you just witnessed proves that memory transfer
can be done..."

Tom McCarty, a neurosurgeon and Sarah are your lead characters. They are pulled into a medical-related situation through two patients that have reported similar issues--they have displayed memories that, upon checking, have not been related to the patient. One woman believes her son has been kidnapped and when told there are no children in the family immediately goes into deep depression and confusion. The other patient remembers killing a prostitute!

Let me quickly point out that Tom and Sarah have "noticed" each other at the hospital but neither have been able to act on their attraction... However, when Tom is in trouble, he decides to contact her...and she's his professional companion and personal friend from then on...

In essence, the whole issue is when governmental security officials burst into McCarty's office, ready to arrest him, but first demanding that the DARPA files he has stolen are turned over...

Tom McCarty has absolutely no idea what they are talking about, but after the two continue to intimidate him, he decides he needs to get out to find help... The only way he can think of is to climb through the ceiling into another area. When one of them discovers him gone, and calls his superior, he is told to climb up and start following him!

But by accident, his partner shoots him, thinking it was the doctor.

Of course, that agent quickly decides to blame McCarty for shooting his partner and in the fracas Tom's assistant is also shot...

Tom makes it out of the ceiling area and into a small room in which he can hide until he has time to think... He has no idea as to what is supposedly to have been stolen. But little by little, he begins to remember that he'd requested the patient files on the two patients that Sarah had consulted with him on. Which he never received...

In the meantime, Colonel Clyde Cunningham is meeting in the Pentagon with members of CIA brass, showing the video of a man confessing to the murder of a hooker, with the goal of receiving approval to proceed.

Most of the book covers the gathering of information about what Tom is being accused of, who is behind it, and the actual chase which takes place with the Hospital Security, the local police and the government security agents trying to find and/or keep hold of Tom. He certainly proves to have used his past experience in intelligence in his activities. But he still would have been caught if Sarah had not provided needed outside support and her eyes in getting the escape planned.

I would personally have preferred a little more of the personal side of what was happening with the two patients who were implanted with false memories, still there are enough thrills to keep readers happy. Medical enthusiasts should definitely check it out!


Allen R. Wyler is a neurosurgeon and author. He practiced neurosurgery at the University of Washington, University of Tennessee, and finally at Swedish Hospital in Seattle before leaving practice to become Medical Director for Northstar Neuroscience in 2002. He has written several books and articles on the subject of epilepsy as well as published multiple novels]. He retired from Northstar in 2008 to spend more time writing fiction.

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