Determined to help her amnesiac patients recover their lives, Boston psychiatrist Cristina Silva is achieving near-miraculous results by prescribing Recognate, a revolutionary new memory-recovery drug now in trials. She understands her patients’ suffering better than most, because she’s lost her memories, too. Desperate to become herself again, she pops the same experimental drug she prescribes to her patients. And, like them, she remembers a little more each day.
Until one of her patients, a successful accountant, jumps from an eight-story window to his death. And as Cristina’s memories return, with them come violent visions and an incessant voice in her head. Maybe the drug isn’t safe after all. But discontinuing it would mean forgetting everything she’s recalled and losing herself.
Then an enigmatic, possibly dangerous man appears at Cristina’s bus stop. He seems to know more about her life than she does and says she holds a secret that puts her life in danger. Perilously balanced between an unknown past and a terrifying future, if she wants to survive, Cristina must stay on the medication and unlock those memories before it’s too late—even if the adverse effects of the drug could destroy her.
Boston psychiatrist Cristina Silva, the protagonist of Shulkin's melodramatic debut and series launch, is shaken by the death of patient Carl Franklin, who jumped out of an eighth-floor window after experiencing violent psychotic episodes. Franklin was just one of the people suffering from amnesia she'd prescribed a memory-enhancing drug that, though still in the trial phase, was producing miraculous results without any adverse effects. Meanwhile, Cristina has an unsettling encounter with a man on a bus, Sebastian dos Santos, who tells her that she's not who she thinks she is, that her memory has been stolen, and that he knows her real identity. Dos Santos warns her to trust no one and to seek him out when she discovers the truth. With some newspaper articles about suicides dos Santos provides for her as a starting point, Cristina tries to verify his disturbing claims and recover her past. She's soon on the track of an evil conspiracy. Uninspired prose (Cristina's "heart swelled with pride") and superficial characterizations don't help with the suspension of disbelief. Those looking for nuance will be disappointed.