Psychological autopsy is an investigation into a person's life to determine whether a death was natural, accidental, suicide, or homicide. Jo Becket calls herself a dead-shrinker instead of a head-shrinker. Yet she is called in to assess a passenger, Ian Kannan, arrested on an incoming flight to San Francisco. Corporate Security officer, Kannan, is suffering from Anterograde amnesia. This means he can no longer form new memories and can’t retain any new information for longer than a few minutes. Forensic psychiatrist Jo is determined to find out why. And the why, is what pushes the plot along.
This is a medical/techno thriller, it has a few twists, some romance and Jo has a next-door neighbour called Ferd. He is a neurotic and has a sociopathic pet monkey called Mr Peebles. The monkey is the best drawn character in the book. Jo teams up with her lover Gabe, who is a search and rescue expert with the National Guard and cop friend Amy Tang, they race against time in order to save Kannan’s family and the city of San Franscisco from disaster.
I found the novel short on suspense and the last chapters where the pace ‘racks up’ are a little too long and with some repetition. For a forensic psychiatrist Jo behaves in an illogical fashion at times and she becomes a superhero in the Bruce Willis, ‘Die Hard’ sense. At around the half way mark I began to skip and speed read. Nonstop action can be tedious if it’s repetitious and there was little to show the motivation of the characters other than Kannan. Reaching the end of the book was somewhat of a reprieve although I thought the ending was just right. A good read for traveling or sunbathing maybe.