3 out of 4 stars
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Can you imagine losing your memory and as a result, part of your identity? In The Adults in the Room by Jeffrey D. Mechling, former CIA officer, Tim Hall, loses his wife and is diagnosed with retrograde amnesia after a car accident. He doesn't remember much about his relationship with his wife, Pam, except that they were fighting the day of the accident. Recently retired, Tim is now alone and spends most of his time at the local bar. He is attracted to the owner and bartender, Mary Ann, but is uncertain about pursuing her. Tim fears that what he can't remember may come back to haunt him. Desperate to recover his memory, he agrees to travel to the Dominican Republic to participate in a stem cell trial. Suddenly, people who know about Tim's past begin to surface. Why now, and is Mary Ann somehow involved?
Much of the appeal of this fast-paced plot involves the element of surprise, so I am purposely exercising caution to not reveal spoilers. However, I will say that there is a little something for fans of mystery, suspense, medical thrillers, espionage, and romance. Even better, Mechling blends the genres seamlessly in this well-written and professionally-edited read.
In fact, I most liked the suspenseful plot, which was the strength of the book. Mechling delivered plenty of twists, turns, and red-flag moments that kept me guessing from start to finish. The tension of the thriller was palpable, and at certain points, I found myself mentally warning Tim, "Don't do it!”
Tim is a well-developed protagonist; he is sarcastic with relatable flaws. Additionally, most of the supporting characters are equally fleshed out. Unfortunately, the exception is Mary Ann. I dislike that her sexy ex-biker-chick persona reads more like a man's fantasy than an actual woman. Her character may appeal to men, but it is doubtful most women will connect with her.
Like me, readers may be curious about the book's title; it isn't a veiled sexual reference. However, the book does contain explicit sexual content and the frequent use of R-rated profanity. The gratuitous scenes and weak character development of Mary Ann prevent me from giving it a perfect rating. However, for the book’s page-turning suspense and ability to surprise, I rate it 3 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to readers who enjoy thrillers and espionage. It will likely appeal to fans of shows like Homeland and The Americans.
The Adults in the Room
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