Romantic suspense with a dystopian twist. What happened behind these doors? In the summer of 2003, three young women and a teenage girl take a trip to New York City…Only three of them return. More than a decade later, one of them uncovers the shocking truth.
[Edit October 27th 2019: I've realized this story had made more of an impression on me than I thought when I wrote this review, so I'm upgrading it from 4 to 5*.]
I needed something to get me out of my head. Not sure a dystopian novel was the right choice! I have no regrets though, it was fantastic. Terrifying and thrilling.
Dani and her two best friends Alice and Joy are getting ready for their first real trip as young adults and Dani plans to come out to them some time during those ten days in New York. When Alice’s parents make them take Alice’s seventeen-year-old sister Paige with them, Alice is mad, Dani not so much. She’s got a huge crush on young Paige but when Paige kisses her, Dani does the adult thing: Paige is underage, Dani won’t act on their mutual crush before she’s eighteen. The next day, Paige disappears while the four women are walking in a crowded New York Street. For thirteen years, Dani, ridden with guilt, can’t stop looking for her, going so far as becoming a police detective instead of going to business school as planned. Suddenly a new case brings her closer to finding out what happened.
There’s a lot happening in the world right now that makes this gripping story seem absolutely believable and sooo scary. What Dani discovers before and after she gets reunited with Paige is horrifying. The writing is excellent, as is the narration by T.J. Richards. As awful as the story being told by Barbara Winkes is, this book left me full of energy from all this excitement.
In 2003, three young women Dani, Joy, and Alice, and a teenage girl take a trip to New York City. Paige, the teenager, reveals her crush to Dani and disappears without a trace a few hours after. Dani decides to leave no stone unturned and soon enrolls in the police academy to continue searching for Paige. Thirteen years later, Dani finally discovers what happened.
This is my first book by Barbara Winkes and decided to give it a go thanks to the recommendation of Jude from Judeinthestars' blog. This year I’ve decided to try new authors and as I like TJ Richards’s narrating style, it was an easy decision. I’m glad I did as this is a very good lesbian dystopian mystery audiobook that deals with very contentious issues that resonated in me both as a lesbian and a woman.
‘The Amnesia Project’ is mainly a dystopian sci-fi mystery with a romance on the back seat. I understand that the romance wasn’t the most relevant part of the plot, but it was a very important justification for the actions of the main characters. For this reason, I felt that the chemistry between the mains should have been stronger to move the story forward.
The mystery part of the plot is what really makes this book worth a read or listen. It’s a page-turner that will keep you most of the time on the edge of your seat. However, it’s not perfect and I felt that some parts were a bit far-fetched even for the universe that the author built. Having said that, there is a good critique of the role assigned to women in our contemporary society and the constant willingness of certain parts of humankind to control others. It’s scary to see some similarities with our real world.
The audiobook was narrated by TJ Richards who did a very good job with this demanding novel. Her narrative tone adapted well to both the fast-paced and the more contemplative parts and her performance of the myriad of feelings was spot-on. My only critique is that even though her female voices were distinctive, the male ones felt a bit confusing. Despite this, the audiobook is entertaining and thought-provoking. 4 stars for both the story and the narration.
Duration: 7 hours, 50 minutes.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
This was my first book from Barbara Winkes but is definitely not the last one. It's a scary story which you think could be true - and that's the scary thing.
It's about guilt, friendship, and love. The romance takes a back seat, but the mystery is that gripping that you don't really miss it. Written in first person but from two different POV's, from Dani and from Paige.
Dani feels guilty about the disappearance of Paige thirteen years ago. For this, she changed her career plans and was becoming a cop. During all these years, beside her real cases, she's always looking for Paige. Will she ever find her? What happened to Paige back in New York?
Slowly you get the whole picture of this story, it takes place in the years 2003 when Paige disappears, in the present and some time in between. This book is a page turner, thrilling and realistic.
These are my honest thoughts on this book. I won it during the yearly Hootenanny from Women & Words, thank you Barbara Winkes.
This was a well-written book that I couldn't put down. Warning: There isn't really a good stopping point after about the 35% mark.
I did not love the story, it was too dark for me. But, I did love the characters. There were quite a few loose ends, and I suspect there will be another book in the series that may address some of them.
A page turner and an emotional roller coaster with fascinating characters. The story is beautifully constructed. It makes me think "what if". A scary thought that this could happen in our world. It was amazing how the plot unfolds and I loved the surprising turns. It was unique and sometimes terrifying. To say I devoured this book would be an understatement.
The premise of this book is very intriguing, the writing is very hard to get through.
In this book I never felt any of the suspense that I was hoping for, partly because I had the mystery figured out pretty quickly and partly because of the writing. So many grammar and spelling mistakes… just wrong words used, it was hard to get through. The only reason I finished the book is because I wanted to see if I was right. I was, for the most part. The writing is clunky and never really flows. The story choices are not what I was hoping for. Especially the romance, it was horrible.
I wouldn’t recommend this, although the premise is good and some parts of it are intriguing, the writing and story choices just didn’t work for me.
The Amnesia Project by Barbara Winkes is a very timely mystery. Dani, Alice and Joy have just finished college and they have decided to go on a trip to New York to celebrate and bond before they each go their separate ways. Unfortunately for the three friends, Alice’s parents force her younger sister, Paige off on them at the last minute. They decide to make the best of it and head off to the Big Apple. One night while Alice and Joy are out bar hopping and Dani is left to “babysit” the under age Paige, Paige reveals that she has had a crush on Dani for some time. They share one kiss, but Dani puts a stop to it. Not only is Paige under age, but Dani is not out to her two friends , yet. The next day the foursome is out sightseeing and Paige simply disappears.
The book follows Dani’s pursuit to find out what became of Paige. She secretly feels responsible for her disappearance and goes so far as to become a police detective. The suicide of a prominent surgeon leads to a break in Page’s missing person case. And that point, anything else would be a spoiler.
The book is told in the first person, present tense, but the author skips back and forth between Dani’s life and Paige’s. The entire case is filled with roadblocks and becomes more and more ominous as it becomes evident that it isn’t just a missing persons case.
The dialogue is tight. Dani is consumed by her guilt at the detriment of any personal relationship she may attempt. Paige is lost and confused. The two things I liked most about this book was that feeling of “Oh no, oh no!” you get when you can’t stop turning the pages when the plot grabs hold of you. I also liked how the story highlights the real threats facing women, minorities and the LGBTQ community.
Towards the end, one of the villains lays out the grand plan when Dani is captured. I thought this took away from highlighting her skills as a detective. I know that it was important for her to be captured, but I would have preferred to see her connect all those dots on her own.
All in all, this was a good read. It gave me the chills because its make believe plot could easily be put into practice in our current political climate.
I was given an ARC of this book by the author in return for a fair and honest review.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This was a very intriguing read and an interesting concept. All very Stepford Wives but darker and I adored it.
Dani is a passionate and determined detective who spends her life feeling guilty for the disappearance of her friend’s younger sister Paige, who had declared her feelings for Dani and when Dani has rejected her unexplainably disappears the next day. She then spends her life in hope Paige is still alive and out there somewhere.
Barbara’s spin on this is absolutely fascinating and to explore such a sinister subject was just great. I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes Crime/Suspense Thrillers and even if that isn’t your usual type of book, this is a great read and will really make you think so you should check it out.
A well written, fascinating story that I thoroughly enjoyed.
This was a great read. It intrigued me from the start and kept me turning the pages. The only thing stopping me from giving it a full five stars was I thought the author was being purposefully obtuse for the sake of plot when it took nearly two thirds of the book for investigators to recognise the link to the dead neuroscientist. I'd been shouting at the pages for a long time. Still, this is a twisty read with some powerful emotions. Highly recommend.
This is my first book by Barbara Winkes, though she’s a prolific writer in the lesfic community. It’s a slightly dystopian thriller, somewhat of an underground Handmaid’s Tale-type story with a main lesbian romance. I definitely found myself more intrigued by the mystery elements than the characters or romance.
This is a very timely story. It’s one that will make any modern woman shiver while reading. As you delve deeper into Paige’s disappearance along with Dani, you’ll keep thinking, no, it can’t possibly be what I think it is, and then it gets worse. The fact that pretty much all of the important characters are women makes the misogyny-fueled plot even grittier—we want justice alongside them, even though we don’t get into their heads and psyches as much as I wish we could.
The thriller plot itself kept me turning the page, but I felt a disconnect from the characters because we never got to know them very well or get a feel for their relationships. Alice, Joy, and Dani are supposed to be best friends, but we don’t know much about them and we don’t really see them bond like friends should. And Dani and Paige’s romance seems to be very surface-level and not evolve much past a crush and a first kiss, even though we’re supposed to believe it is true love. I didn’t have a feel for each woman’s individual personality, her traits, her special quirks. The plot certainly drew me in, but to keep me really invested, I needed a closer look at these characters.
There were also some plot inconsistencies and errors that took me out of the story. The timelines can be a little messy—the blurb says the women went to New York in 2013, but they actually went in 2003, making the bulk of the story take place 13 years later in 2016. And Paige’s stated birthdate of either 1993 or 1994 doesn’t make sense, because she would’ve only been nine or ten in New York when she was definitely 17 (which is an important plot point). I tend to read mysteries very quickly, often missing little details that die-hard mystery readers would pick up on right away, so the fact that I noticed these things immediately shows this story needed another pair of eyes to work out those kinks.
I won’t reveal any more of the book’s layered and complex plot. It’s better to go in knowing less, especially as more secrets are uncovered. While I felt Winkes could’ve delved a little deeper into her characters and their relationships, this thriller will keep you guessing and keep you wanting more.
This is a story that will stay with me. Dani, Alice and Joy are friends planning a trip to New York before careers take them in different directions. Alice’s sister Paige is foisted upon them and Dani seems more affected than the others by this. When Paige disappears they are all distraught but Dani can’t stop looking and dedicates her life to finding her. ‘The Amnesia Project’ is a fantastic dystopian romance with a story that has so many layers. I never knew who to trust or where it was going to go. I learned not to make assumptions when reading this novel. Barbara Winkes surprised me again and again.The reason for Paige’s disappearance was shocking but worryingly not at all unbelievable. Once you’ve read it you will know why. Dani was tenacious and her loyalty to Paige never wavered. She found herself in peril, threatened and warned off but never gave up. Paige had an underlying strength and maturity that shone through. I liked her approach from the start and was with Dani all the way as she tried to find answers to where Paige had gone and why. I was very impressed with this book and give it 5 Stars.
I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.
I swear every time I read Barbara Winkes she has me going in all different directions. I love how she keeps me on my toes and trying to figure her out what the heck was going on. I thought I figured out what was going early but then I was wrong. Then I thought I had figured it out I couldn't be wrong...WHAM I am hit again with what was really going g on...😮 I love books that keep me guessing. I definitely recommend this book.
I was really curious about this book coz I saw it was recommended a couple of times. It was partially a yes and a no. See, the whole story is good and build up is all interesting but when it comes to romance, that's when it happened badly.
The ending was interesting. The beginning was also intriguing but the near end was dissatisfing. Dani and Paige ending up together is what shouldn't have happened, Dani should have stayed with Lori. (Which was also a disaster relationship) but it felt so unrealistic with Dani and Paige. Annette and her over felt more like something that would actually happen.
And all those men that married those young women, should have ended up in jail. I needed more scenes where this fuckers were being punished than happy endings. Because seriously, a book like this, a happy ending is just a means to an end. But the real deal is always the justice to those that are wronged and how they're going about their life after. Which this book has only in snaps.
I wanted to finish the novel in a week but I read it in a day. The plot kept me going, consuming me and working my mind non stop. WOW. Excellent read, where the simplicity of words fills you with the desire to go on. I was full of emotions that were hard to keep them suppressed and deep inside. I felt the moisture building up and looked around before I let the tears travel my face. I cry. A must read!!! So, yes, loved it now and forever.
Barbara Winkes is an author I had never read before, but one who will be definitely added to my must-binge-read list. The Amnesia Project is her latest book and at the moment it is a standalone offering, although she is well known for her Jayce and Emma, Carpenter and Harding, and Callie and Rebecca series so who knows whether this particular storyline will continue past this novel!
The story initially feels fairly familiar. Three young friends are heading off for a trip to New York before they move on to their first real jobs and new lives, firmly believing they will faithfully keep in touch, albeit from afar. Dani, Alice, and Joy are friends from school in their early twenties, but Alice’s seventeen year old sister, Paige, is surprisingly added to the mix by their parents at the last minute and the dynamics of the friendships shift slightly as they realise they will have to baby-sit her and mostly curtail their drinking plans. They arrive safely at their hotel room, Dani anxiously hinting to us at a secret she has been keeping from her friends, and especially Paige.
Although we know from the beginning that only three of the girls make it home the manner in which Paige becomes separated from the others was abrupt and not what I expected!
The next part revolves around how each of the returning characters deal with the confusion and uncertainty of Paige’s disappearance, especially Dani, who significantly changes her career path because she can not stop second guessing the final moments before Paige vanishes, and her own culpability in the circumstances. This is a guilt she carries with her to the end of the book.
You may think you will be able to predict the general storyline from the title of the book but I’m here to tell you you won't be even close! I most certainly did not anticipate the twists and turns Barbara skilfully navigates the reader through. The narration is split between Dani and Paige, and then split again between the present, and then specific points during the previous thirteen years. This style usually confuses me, but, again, Barbara handles this aspect effortlessly and the story flows naturally.
Dani’s intensity and focus made me want to cheer her on. I wanted her to find peace and consolation during her journey. Her two friends faded out slightly as Dani took centre stage and they don’t return until almost the end of the novel. Paige showed a maturity and stubbornness I wasn’t expecting and I loved her narration sections.
My favourite part was where Dani receives a vital clue quite by accident and her previous sleuthing helps her to seize the information and doggedly pursue it, despite colleagues trying to dissuade her. This was where it all took off for me.
It’s a long time since a book managed to elevate my heart rate, and I can’t really think of another Lesfic book where the plot gripped my imagination, not knowing how the main characters were going to end up: dead or alive; together or apart; reconciled or distant, the way this one did.
There are a couple of characters I didn’t want to like, but Barbara manages to write them in with compassion and, although I don’t need to read any more about them in the future I did want them to end up happy.
I felt a tad sceptical about how suddenly a romance flared between two of the characters. I would have liked a little heavier underlining of the foundation which was laid earlier in the book. Maybe if the original scene had involved more than a kiss I would have found it more credible. To be honest I would have been happy for this only to have been a thriller, with no overt romance at all! This would have paved the way for a sequel which would not be a bad thing at all!
I am happy to recommend this book to you! It isn't for someone who wants to lull themselves to sleep at night though. It requires a certain amount of concentration, but if you put the effort in you will be rewarded with a damn fine yarn.
I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.
So, for the second of my Pride Month reads, I was in the mood for a psychological thriller with a queer woman protagonist. This... is not a psychological thriller, but when I saw the blurb I was intrigued, so instead I ended up with a mystery-dystopian with a queer female protagonist. AND IT WAS GREAT.
Before I get into the things I liked, I do want to give one little potential trigger warning. I think the author intended it to be part of the mystery, so under the spoiler cut:
The story revolves around Dani, a police detective who chose her career when her best friend's sister Paige--whom she was also secretly in love with--disappeared during a trip to New York with Dani and her friends. Dani has spent the past... ten years, I think? trying to find Paige, as well as several other girls who disappeared under similar circumstances. Surprisingly, it is during the investigation of the apparent suicide of a celebrity brain surgeon that she gets her break... and discovers that what happened to Paige is less like something out of an episode of CSI, and more like The Handmaid's Tale.
This book did SUCH A GOOD JOB of blending genres. I love mysteries and dystopians (although, let's be realistic, a lot of this stuff seems VERY grounded in the real world, which makes it all the more terrifying), and Winkes does a wonderful job of working the best elements of both genres into a satisfying, page-turning plot.
The characters are well-developed as well, complete with their flaws (I didn't love how Dani treated her girlfriend, for example... but I could sort of understand the messed-up human circumstances that led to it). Even some of the seemingly one-dimensional side characters ended up having quite a bit of depth by the end.
The one thing I MIGHT have taken off half a star for if Goodreads allowed half stars is the writing style. There was nothing really WRONG with it, but it wasn't 100% for me. The author's style is very plain and straightforward, which was sometimes effective in getting the necessary information across, but sometimes felt like "telling" that could have been more effective as "showing." I happen to like flowery language though, and if a more straightforward style is more your thing, YMMV.
Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely! IT satisfied my craving for a good mystery AND an epic sapphic love story. I'll definitely be looking into the author's other work as well.
From aw, isn't that sweet--to--NO DON'T GO IN THERE, and a few other reactions I won't add here, I found myself on a roller coaster ride. Winkes masterfully creates a very suspenseful story. I had to take a few breaks, because I even felt anxious about what might transpire on the following pages. Dani is a woman whose life is dominated by guilt and loss of a love that could have been. Paige and the other women living in "The Community" may not be happy or satisfied with life, but they seem to acquiesce to their situations willingly. As a detective, Dani has never given up her search for the young girl she feels responsible for having gone missing on her watch, and a recent case sends her on a personal mission to find the truth--only to find a link to her past. The question that came to mind as I read on was, 'could the journey of a long ago love between two women overcome physical, mental, and emotional interference by outside manipulation'? Truly a wonderful book that provoked a myriad of emotions within me. That hundreds of young girls, women, and boys are reported missing on a daily basis and never found is a horrendous reality, but the premise here is something so absolutely frightening of something that could be a possibility in our world. There were points in the book when my heart was beating hard against my chest. I will revisit this again, certainly. Such a good book.
The first chapter really established a lot. Character's feelings and how they interact with each other and where they were going.
Sadly sometimes I had no idea what was going on mainly because I was confused by the addition of new characters.
Before the halfway point I had had a hard time figuring out if I would like the overall book and if it was worth it (to continue reading or DNF). I wanted to stop reading mainly because All the characters started to annoy me and also the mix of Genres (Romance and what felt like a psychological thriller) got really annoying.
Seeing that both Dani and paige knew that Paige had a lot on her plate and kept thinking of and committing inappropriate actions when their lives were on the line.
*Also the quick but negative mention of an age gap did put me off a bit.
* Things progressed too fast, The Happy ending was too sweet and cookie cutter. The fact that paige had no trauma confused me.
* The ending / Villain (s) didn't feel built up
* The book felt like it had an agenda and it felt forced not at all natural.
What an awesome story and read. Three young women plan a trip to New York before starting there new careers but Alice is mad as her parents tell Alice her young sister 17yrs old Paige is coming too.but her friends joy and Dani persuade her it won't be that bad.Dani had wanted to tell friends something.There first couple of days went fine? But on third day as they walk along the pavement Alice and Joy walk ahead Dani is worried as Paige wont talk to her trying to keep an eye on her friends in front she then turns and Paige is gone. She calls them but resorts to calling Alice telling her Paige is missing. This story is definitely one to read if you like one with twists and turns and unable to put down Then definitely give this one a go. This is one you won't put down till the end. Barbra Winkes certainly knows how to weave a story and this is no exception Recommend Yes--Definatly
Great characters, wonderful plot, unbelievably well conceived and fantastically written, you will not be disappointed. Taking the Stepford Wives and doubling down on it, Barbara has done an excellent job of providing a book that is unputdownable, but you do, just to take a breath and allow your mind to process the words on the page. The concept is scary and parts of you want it to be fiction, but another part of you knows.....maybe, just maybe. Humans can be terrifying and this book gives way to the possibility that in some way this awfulness could actually happen. I recommend this book to go to the top of your read list, it is that good.
This is one amazing book. The pace was rapid. The dialog intense. Ms. Winkes told this story from the viewpoint of 2 women, jumping back and forth in time. She managed to pull me in immediately and keep me turning pages.
Such a nefarious prospect. The evils of the antagonists in this story are truly horrifying. It seems so real and possible. So timely to our current political climate.
The protagnists are admirable. I wanted to be Dani, trying to rescue Paige. Just enough detail.
A wonderful book. I can't wait to get my hands on more of Ms. Winkes books.
I am a fan of WLW books and was given the opportunity to listen to this book through the kindness of the author Barbara Winkes. The futuristic drift of the story line is a sub genre that I am just beginning to explore and I am really grateful that I decided to listen to The Amnesia Project. It was intense in a different way than I experience with a mystery or crime procedural and the romance was included too. I listened to the entire book in a couple of days. TJ Richards did an awesome job of bringing a varied cast of characters to life. I am choosing not to say much, as I detest spoilers. If you enjoy stretching your reality this is a great adventure. It was a great few hours for me.
Review about the audiobook. A gripping story! That was a really exciting and original book. The topic itself has been featured in many films, series and books. I liked it, of course, that this was about women in a lesbian relationship, but not only that. The family relationships that were destroyed as a result and friendships that suffered for so long are well described. In addition, the characters were extremely mature and the Amnesia Project was also well thought out. I don't want to write much more on the topic, otherwise I would reveal a lot. TJ Richards as the narrator has done another great job. Really a pleasure to listen to!
I listened to the audiobook version of this book, narrated by TJ Richardson. Lemme just say that she was an EXCELLENT narrator.
I really enjoyed this book. I have to say that it was very hard for me to get through at times, not through any fault of its own though. Two years ago I'd have absolutely loved the plot of the book, but with the political climate the way it is now, and how absolutely insane the world feels, the plot almost seemed like it could actually happen. That doesn't negate that it is a good book, well written for sure.
Absolutely loved this romantic thriller Very exciting and enthralling fast paced Dystopian thriller. A compelling page turner. Great characters I was rooting for Paige and loved Dani. Paige disappears on a trip to New York. The heartache and guilt of Dani searching for Paige was so raw. We saw Dani and Paige telling their respective stories. Superb story so well written by Barabra Winkes. Totally recommend this exciting book.