Dead Girl in 2A by Carter Wilson

Jake and Clara meet in first class on a flight from Boston to Denver. After quitting her teaching job and becoming a recluse, Clara has decided to kill herself and thinks the Maroon Bells in the Rockies would form the best background for her final resting place. Jake’s life is spinning out of control: his marriage is dissolving after he caused an accident that severely injured his daughter. It doesn’t help matters that he is having memory issues. A mysterious client contacts Jake to ghostwrite his memoirs… it might be a chance to help with the mounting medical bills, a chance at slight redemption.

A thin line between fate and coincidence. The flight to Denver brings out a empathic connection that neither can explain. But as they continue to speak, Jake and Clara reveal a link, a solution to their memory problems… a series of experiments that involves a network of others who are also possibly being controlled. Jake is stuck with rising debt and needs to take this job, but also feels like Clara could help provide the answers he is looking for.

Dead Girl in 2A is a book about memory, greed, and the razor’s edge between enlightenment and violent impulses. Stuck in a cycle of Déjà vu, these two characters try to piece together their histories and alternate between POVs from chapter to chapter.

The plot tries to advance quickly through short chapters and reveals at the end of each character’s narration, but the repetition of same events becomes tedious. And as the backstory gets clearer, it turns into a book that’s been done before. The main characters are certainly drawn well, but the secondary players fall into those stereotypes of bad guy and henchman.

One thing I did enjoy was the author’s note at the end explaining that there is a bit of truth behind several of the threads. It would be interesting to further investigate these real-life connections.

Overall, Dead Girl in 2A is a book that doesn’t reach its potential. A decent premise is stalled by ‘memory’ issues, which seem to be so fashionable in the thriller genre these days.

2.5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, SourceBooks, and the author for an advanced copy for review.

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