Monday, January 17, 2011

Review of Right Side Talking by Bonnie Rozanski

I received a review copy of this book from the author. The following review is in no way biased because of that.

Imagine that you are a young girl with intractable epilepsy. As a last resort you submit to an operation to sever the connection between the two sides of your brain. Though the operation successfully reduces your seizures, you are left forever with two separate minds: left and right, each unaware of the other. 

Imagine further that while recovering in the hospital, you witness a murder. Your dominant left brain cannot recognize unfamiliar faces, and is, therefore, unable to identify the killer. Your right brain can, but is unable to speak. Gradually, painstakingly, the right learns to spell out its thoughts in scrabble letters. At long last, on a table in a hospital lab, you describe the person who committed the crime. Too bad the killer is reading that very same message…

Right Side Talking falls outside of the genre I usually read in. It felt geared more towards adults, and was a crime/mystery/medical thriller. I found it compelling, nonetheless, and may venture into more books of that theme in the future.

Right Side Talking featured third person narration, with the story majorly following Anna, but also a whole cast of secondary characters - her surgeon, her psychologist, the man who attempted to murder her. Though because of this you don't get to know any character in depth, you get a better understanding of the story from all perspectives.

I'm not sure how accurate the medical aspects of this book are, but there were interesting. If it was accurate, then it was well researched; and if it was fictional, then it was well devised. Either way, the procedure Anna underwent was completely new to me and intriguing. Her recovery was slow and stressful, and the reader was set up to feel sympathetic.

Seeing the side of the investigation that goes on in the courtroom - rather than just arresting the perp and being done with it - gave the situation a realistic feel and tied up all the loose ends for the ending.

However, all the while knowing who committed the murders and why took away some of the suspense, and the rest was taken away by the trial that dragged out.

I give Right Side Talking a 3 (leaning towards a 3.5) out of 5. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes crime and mystery novels and is looking for a new twist on the genre.