Monday, March 26, 2012

Surprise Agent Invasion #4

Genre: Medical thriller
Word count: 100,000


Some memories are meant to be forgotten—especially when they’re not yours.

More than anything, Dr. Cristina Silva, clinical psychiatrist, wants to recover memories lost in an accident that claimed the lives of her parents. She wants it so much that she agrees to oversee an experimental trial for the memory-restoring drug, Memnon, on the condition she can also participate. When two of her subjects become homicidal and suicidal, the 35-year-old doctor must face the possibility that Memnon is responsible. She confronts the pharmaceutical company but they insist Memnon is safe and threaten to cut her from the study if she publicizes her concerns. Dr. Silva is afraid to stop the drug and lose her recovered memories, but is determined not to go insane. With help from a maverick police detective and a stranger who knows more about her than she knows about herself, her search for answers spans two continents. When she uncovers a sinister connection between the victims and learns Memnon creates rather than restores memories, she is faced with a choice: learn the truth about the drug and its creators, or lose her own identity—and possibly her life.

ADVERSE EFFECTS will appeal to fans of Palmer’s FLASH BACK and Ludlum’s BOURNE IDENTITY.

I am a developmental-behavioral pediatrician whose fiction and non-fiction have appeared in Short Story America, Drabblecast, and Long Story Short. I also won SEAK’s national award for medical fiction and a picture book contest by SCWBI Carolinas and received an Honorable Mention from Writer’s Digest for a suspense/thriller short story. Michael Palmer and Tess Geritsen have offered to write blurbs upon publication.

First 250:

The woman’s chocolate skin felt like satin beneath Carl Franklin’s fingertips, her hair a black halo against the bedspread. Slender fingers gripped the sheets, pulling them free from the mattress as she jerked spasmodically. Her eyes bore into his as his fingers did their work.

Where had he met this woman? What was her name? Why was she so silent? At a moment like this, she should have been shrieking so loud the neighbors would pound on the walls and threaten to call the police.

He wanted to vomit when his hands tightened around her windpipe, blocking her screams. What was worse? The growing bulge in his pants confirmed he was enjoying it.

“Stop,” he whispered, though he knew it would do no good. He gripped his armchair, trying to convince himself the leather felt nothing like the skin of her neck. “Let her go.”

She jabbed her press-on fingernail into his eyeball, coming close to blinding him. At the last second, he pulled his head back. He tightened his grip and twisted, snapping her neck. The fight left her body.

“That wasn’t me.” Carl doubled over and pressed his fingertips against his skull. The smell of stale beer wafted to his nostrils. He leaned back and inhaled deeply. “These aren’t my memories. I’d never hurt anyone.”

He carefully removed her hair weave, piece by piece, so that when they found her, they would see her as the whore she was. He could imagine fear in her neighbors’ eyes when they read about her death.


  1. The author knows I am impressed with his concept. Memory and brain science is such a booming field, and there's a lot of potential in a plot about a drug to restore lost memory, but what about if it goes wrong? Great ideas here!

    Great work and good luck!

  2. It's a very intriguing concept and Dr. Silva sounds like a sympathetic character. I'd love to see more. Could you send me the first 50 pages to: submissions (at) abliterary (dot) com? Thanks!