Book Review: Damnatio Memoriae by Laura Giebfried

Damnatio Memoriae KDP coverTitle: Damnatio Memoriae

Author: Laura Giebfried

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Age Group: Young Adult and up

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Nothing ever happened at Bickerby. Located on an island off the coast of Maine, its prestige, remoteness, and near-inaccessibility in the winter months were the reasons that Enim Lund’s father sent him there in the first place. With only a year left of school until graduation, Enim’s only focus is to keep his grades high enough to scrape by and keep his unforgiving involvement in his mother’s critical accident secreted away. But when a body washes up on the school’s shore and a teacher vanishes without explanation, the thought of a quiet, uneventful year becomes unlikely – especially given that his best friend has planted himself in the middle of the crime. Worse than the thought of a killer loose on the island with them, though, is that the unfolding events are dredging up horrors in Enim’s past that, if uncovered, will result in his own misdeeds being found out.

As Enim is pulled further and further into crimes that he both has and hasn’t committed, he finds that his mind is slowly unraveling and his grip on reality is faltering, and unwanted comparisons are being drawn between his mother’s withering health and his own. Soon, discovering who the killer is becomes his only concern. Yet before long, it becomes clear that there’s an even more difficult task at hand than who’s responsible for the horrid crimes: getting anyone to believe him.

Damnatio Memoriae is a thrilling read from start to end, and even though it’s over 500 pages, it doesn’t feel like it’s that long. The plot goes fast, the characters are well fleshed-out and feel like real people, and the setting is sufficiently depressing and chilling to make for a suspenseful read.

Enim is one year away from graduating from Bickerby, a boarding school his father forces him to attend. Enim barely talks to his dad, who seems more than happy to let his younger brother deal with his teenage son instead. Enim tries to make the best of it, but he always ends up in trouble somehow, mot of that courtesy of his best friend.

But now, things have gone above and beyond ‘trouble’. A body washed up on the school’s shore, a teacher vanished, and Enim’s best friend ends up in the middle of the crime. And on top of that, a secret from Enim’s past threatens to be revealed. The more Enim is being pulled into the crimes, the more his mind starts to unravel, and his grip on reality starts to fade. Who is committing these crimes? And when he finds out – how can Enim convince people to believe him?

Enim is an interesting character, an enigma of sorts, and I enjoyed finding out more about him and his past and the events that shaped him. The ending comes not totally unexpected, but still is surprising enough to leave me impressed. The characters carry this novel, as much of it is about Enim’s internal struggle.

A great read for fans of thrillers.

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