Access Point by T R Gabbay

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Access Point by T R Gabbay

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: An elegantly-constructed thriller with nuances of science fiction makes for a satisfying and enjoyable read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 212 Date: April 2020
Publisher: JMS Books
External links: Author's website

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When we first meet Ula Mishkin she's having something of a professional success: using a device of her own invention she's helped a man who has been blind for decades to see an image of a hummingbird. She's thirty-six years old and her life is about to change radically as, cycling home, she's involved in an accident with a bus. It's two years before we meet her again and in the meantime, she's spent 392 days in a coma and now walks with a stick. A professional colleague persuades Ula that she should let out a spare bedroom to bring in some income.

Mia Fraser can hardly believe her luck when she sees the room. Her landlady might be a little strange (her friend Kat says 'weird'), but what's not to like about the room in such a brilliant location? Mia's a nineteen-year-old art student at Central St Martin's and she's confident that she'll soon win Ula round. Getting a lodger in was the idea of Erik Berg, who works with Ula in bio-technical neurology: he's keen to take advantage of Ula's technical advances, but not so enthusiastic about providing financial support.

And so it might have continued, but returning from a night out, Mia is murdered in a local park. Ula is devastated: for the first time in her life she had begun to experience 'love'. Mia's efforts to win Ula round had tapped a previously unknown seam of emotion and Ula is determined that Mia's memory will not die. She means this quite literally - her research is taking her into an area where she can tap into another person's memory, even if that person is dead. It seems that the human memory can actually outlive its host, but there's a delicate co-dependency developing here: Erik Berg and Ula Mishkin have developed the equipment - the Electronic Impulse Receiver - to 'read' the brain and the software required to interpret the readings, but neither is any use without the other. Whatever happens, Ula is determined to reconstruct Mia's memory and find out who killed her.

DI Sarah Boyd is heading up the case, but leads are few and far between, even months later and she has the added problem of living with her father who has dementia. He's an ex-detective himself and wants to help Sarah, but the fact that he occasionally does things like packing to take his wife - who died some years ago - to Paris leaves her on a knife-edge. Boyd has a promising lead in Peter Greene, an ex-boyfriend of Mia's - but will it work out?

So far, so police procedural with nuances of science fiction, but T R Gabbay provides an elegant twist which I didn't see coming and ending is particularly satisfying. I'm not normally a fan of fantasy, but there's a neat balance achieved between what you could just believe is possible and what would be just too obvious. I'd like to thank the publisher for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag: I thoroughly enjoyed it.

You can read more about T R Gabbay here.

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