This is the book you want to read if you're seeking a
blockbusting, thought-provoking tale with near endless twists. For
all you thriller fans out there, hungry for a distinctly fresh
approach, this is the book. You haven't read anything like
THE DISCRETE CHARM OF CHARLIE MONK. David Ambrose doesn't write
formula. In fact, this is about as far from formula as I've read in
a long time.
Charlie Monk is an enigma from the first paragraph of this
outstanding thriller and, with the turn of every page, becomes more
of a mystery than ever. Ambrose gives nothing away as each new
scene simply adds dimension to the puzzle.
Charlie thinks of himself as a highly trained assassin in a deeply
covert department of some obscure government agency. Indeed, maybe
he is, but then again, maybe not. You be the one to decide. Charlie
not only remembers minute details of his past assignments, he has a
host of lethal weapons at his disposal and knows how to handle
sticky situations in astoundingly unique ways. In his somewhat
peculiar personal life, he indulges his kinky appetites while
secretly holding bittersweet memories of a lost love. He has vivid
recollections of part of his childhood, with a few gaps here and
there. But are his memories real? As he makes some chilling
discoveries about himself, the seeds of doubt grow. He begins to
doubt who he is and even begins to doubt what he is.
Meanwhile, Dr. Susan Flemying is working in a clinic of some type,
trying to help patients with diminished memory, some with a cruel
type of amnesia. In her research, she has unearthed some
interesting results, results that may aid in memory enrichment ---
or is that memory manipulation? Shortly after the story begins, Dr.
Flemyng loses her husband John, also a doctor, in a tragic
accident. At least it was reported as an accident. As she struggles
to help her son cope with his father's death, a journalist contacts
her, claiming inside knowledge about John's last days. She is
curious but skeptical. Cautiously, she begins to question the
official version of the plane crash. Inevitably, her path crosses
The one constant in Charlie's life has been Control, his superior
in the "agency." Their regular strategy meetings have always given
Charlie not only his next assignment but also kept him supplied
with the entertainment of his choosing. When Control's surprising
identity is revealed, Charlie starts to formulate a plan, one he
hopes will explain his entire existence. Dr. Susan Flemyng
may be just the one to aid him in that endeavor. Their
escape from wherever it is they've been is riveting, jaw clenching
and quite possibly unbelievable.
You'll say "Hmm" about as many times as there are chapters. The
more you read, the more questions you'll have. THE DISCRETE CHARM
OF CHARLIE MONK soars to new heights in the thriller realm. As much
as I like to savor, I couldn't put it down --- that is, if my
memory serves me right.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 21, 2011