My name is Hadley Gordon. Parahuman mutations: telekinesis and telepathy. Employment: Agency for Parahuman Affairs. Age: twenty-six, not that I remember the first twenty-one. We’ll get back to that. I thought digging through criminals’ minds for a living was hard enough, but then a serial killer came for my friends. The good news? I saw him. I fought him. I survived. The bad news? He got away. Oh, and remember that memory loss thing? Now, my missing memories stand between us and a killer, and he’s determined to finish what he started.
"Telepathy is a funny thing. At least, my telepathy is a funny thing. Some days, the world around me is nothing more than a din, a confusing cornucopia of thoughts that leaves individuals indistinguishable from one another. Some days, I don't hear anything at all. Then, there are the days where one thought stands out."
The Darkest Memories is the first novel in the Impulse Dossier series, a sort of superhero thriller written by Alyse N. Steves. We are going to be following Hadley Gordon, a telepathic and telekinetic who works as part of the Parahuman Agency in San Diego, helping them to resolve crimes with her abilities while trying to survive.
In this world, parahumans (you could also call them superheroes) work together with the police and the government in order to enforce the law and resolve crimes. Our main character, Hadley, is one of those; but she's having a serious problem with missing memories, as she can't remember anything of her first twenty-one years of existence, and on top of that, she sometimes finds herself not remembering details about herself (but with the people aware of it, they more or less can manage it).
"You have no clue who I am, do you?" she asked, standing in a blink.
I pressed my tongue against my teeth and considered my reply.
"I'm guessing you aren't the hooker I hired?" I asked.
Anna rolled her eyes. "Funny every time."
Suddenly, a parahuman is found dead, and Haley's inability to remember the assassin becomes a real problem; with her life threatened as it seems they are going for the parahumans. She must try to find her memories before it is too late.
Hadley is, apart from the main character, also the narrator, something that works marvels in this kind of discovery thriller, as her amnesia makes her really unreliable in that role. As a character, she's mainly moved by how much she cares for the rest, a virtue that will be exploited by others. She's also impulsive, something that will put her in danger several times.
The rest of the cast that accompanies Hadley is interesting, with special mentions deserved to Mark, who acts basically as Hadley's adoptive father, as we can see how he cares about her and her welfare; and the pair of superheroes that become part of Hadley's protection, who are extreme personalities.
Another mention should be made of the main villain, as it is the perfect definition of what a psychopath would be; certainly far from the cartoonish villains that sometimes appear in that kind of novel.
In this world, the existence of parahumans is public; and while they are used for law enforcement, there are people against their own existence (we could interpret this as an elaborated metaphor of what happens with LGTBI+ people nowadays), being the most prominent the Sons of Gaia and the APA; Hadley will suffer multiple situations of rejection due to it.
While parahumans are powerful, they are not omnipotent, as Steves balances pretty well between having powers and certain disadvantages they get: as an example, Hadley tends to lose memories when she uses her telekinesis.
The pacing is fast, something that works perfectly in this kind of thriller plot, making this a book that you can basically devour; once the story starts, it's not going to stop until we find the conclusion.
The Darkest Memories is a great superhero thriller, which can work also perfect for people looking for more sci-fi-like stories. I'm awe to see what more will Hadley Gordon live.
Alyse N. Steves
Born to a medium in a small town named after a planet, normalcy was never an option for Alyse. Once a feral homeschooled child living with eight dogs, six cats, a house-trained chicken, plus a handful of birds, rabbits, fish, and horses, Alyse grew up with a deep love of nature and animals that has led her on adventures across four countries, twenty-nine states, and a failed attempt at becoming a veterinarian (turns out, you aren’t supposed to faint when administering a vaccine).
Now a somewhat domesticated adult, Alyse’s sense of adventure and creativity has resulted in a science fiction novel, Child of Humanity, and a fantasy children’s book, Savannah the Kind. Her books have been read in eleven countries and have been described as “an outstanding masterpiece,” “thought-provoking,” and “complex” by readers. For fun, she earned a Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology.
A Southern transplant living in California, when Alyse isn’t working at as a toxicologist or writing, she enjoys hiking, dragging more plants into the backyard when her partner isn’t looking, and looking up her niece’s nose during FaceTime calls (“Can you give the phone back to Mommy, honey?”). She lives with her wonderfully supportive partner, part security system/part unhinged attack dinosaur packaged in a bird’s body, and a toddler inhabiting the form of the fuzziest cat in existence