Killer Nashville Book of the Day
The Great Forgetting by James Renner
Reviewed by Clay Snellgrove
In his latest novel The Great Forgetting (Sarah Crichton Books), author James Renner once again defies the rules of commercial fiction, crafting a unique tale that will not be pigeon-holed into any specific literary genre. Having already befuddled his marketing team with his dark, time-traveling murder mystery The Man from Primrose Lane, Renner again gives his imagination free reign in The Great Forgetting. The story is an alternative reality where all the world’s great mysteries are explained, while civilization is on the brink of destruction.
The novel hooks readers with its peculiar opening near the 9-11 crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The mystery of why a severed primate’s hand is cradling a watch belonging to one of the crash victims would be compelling enough, but the fact that the watch has an engraving from 2012, eleven years after the high-jacked jetliner fell, makes said mystery irresistible. The terror attacks that define modern American history are left dangling, as the story moves to Ohio to focus on history teacher Jack Felter.
Returning home to help care for his ailing father, Jack is recruited by his high school sweetheart to locate her missing husband Tony, Jack’s former best friend. Jack quickly discovers that Tony, a psychologist believed to have committed suicide, is alive. His whereabouts are known only to one of his patients, a young kid residing in the local mental facility. Jack partners with him to follow clues purposely left behind, which lead them to an unknown island in the Pacific.
In searching for his friend, Jack uncovers an ongoing global conspiracy to wipe the population’s memory clean of a disgraceful past in order to secure a more productive and fulfilling future. Jack and his friends are faced with the choice of whether to wake the masses to the truth or let the amnesia continue.
Renner will be back at it in May, releasing a true crime memoir of sorts titled True Crime Addict, a book Killer Nashville 2015 Guest of Honor M. William Phelps blurbed. Renner has earned the title “serial killer hunter” from some media outlets because of his extensive reporting on unsolved murders and his past body of true crime work.
Clay Snellgrove is the author of The Ball Player. He’s a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University. A former professional baseball player, Clay holds an MFA in creative writing from Converse College.
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