3 out of 4 stars
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Mind Thief by Darrell B. Nelson is a sci-fi, mystery, historical fiction novel all rolled into one. The story follows Howie Brown, an 18 year old college student participating in a psych study at school. What he doesn’t know is that the study is affecting his memories. Howie struggles to discover the reason behind these new-found memories.
Howie recently started having vivid dreams where he is someone else interacting with various historical figures, but not as himself. While waiting for an appointment with a therapist he meets “the hottest girl he ever met:" Vivian. Over the course of a few weeks, his world is turn upside down and inside out. His life becomes a whirlwind of emotions, a lot of sex, unexplainable dreams, betrayal, and revelations. Howie quickly goes from being a shy freshman to having two gorgeous women vying for his attention, never mind the fact that when he dreams, he becomes Joe Harriman. Howie and Vivian become determined to unearth the truth behind his vision, as well as what it is that Harriman is planning. Together they work to stop the man who is invading Howie’s memories and battle to keep each other sane.
Nelson creates a story filled with interesting characters, a plot that seems too complex to work, and historical fiction that almost seems to be real. One element of the story that became a bit too explicit and intense is the sex scenes between Vivian and Howie, which includes a pseudo-rape scene. Almost every sentence out of Vivian has some sort of sexual reference to it making it hard to digest. Readers see both characters feeding off of one another. Vivian’s speak pattern was interesting in the beginning, but as the story progressed, and she developed as an intelligent woman, it became distracting. Her consistent animal sexual references (“koala queefing questions”) got to be too much. The interaction between Howie and Vivian are what move the story along in the first part of the book. It isn’t until we meet Joe Harriman and more of his memories enter Howie’s mind does the book really pick up the pace.
Every time Howie slept, daydreamed, or even got too excited during sex; he would witness memories which would take place at different points in history. Nelson does an excellent job at weaving together a massive story line with Joe Harriman interacting with notable historical figures such as Mata Hari, Sadaam Hussein, Marilyn Monroe, Amelia Earhart and John F Kennedy. He brings these figures to life, and readers can feel as if he had done his homework. I actually looked up Operation Paperclip to see if it was a real thing: it is. The transiting between streams of consciousnesses got to be confusing as one minute Howie is studying Hamlet and the next he is in a memory. It would have flowed better if they were separated into chapters rather than different paragraphs.
Mind Thief is a mixture of unpredictability and predictability. Readers can predict how the characters are going act and react to a situation. This is because Nelson develops them so well it becomes easy to guess how they would respond to something. Some things seemed to be far-fetched such as Howie being able to use the skills Joe has through memories. It isn’t so far-fetched that Howie can perform martial arts because of those memories, but to be able to fly a Learjet without problems seems too unreal. Other things seemed to be taking the element overboard such as Howie and Vivian having sex on top of Debbie. That takes things too far even in this novel.
While I am honored to have gotten to read the novel, it was not one that fits the type of reader I am. The use of sex, innuendos, and things of that nature went to the extreme. It seemed to be overused in the story even if it had slight relevance to the plot-line. I am giving this novel a rating of 3 out of 4 because of that. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys stories dealing with mind control, mystery, history, and don’t mind reading a lot of sex scenes to get to the end goal.
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