The MEG, an experimental MRI-like device, was designed to treat the mentally ill by targeting and erasing traumatic memories. While working to prove to the FDA that the device works, Dr. Anne Powell, the MEG’s creator, finds that her incidental exposure to the MEG’s magnetic fields is triggering dreams—or are they memories?—of a 15th century Russian peasant girl named Anytchka and her tragic life. Anytchka’s past begins to replay itself in Anne’s present as Anne attempts to discover whether we carry the memory of past lives in our genes.
Dr. Lange’s first novel is a medical thriller in the style of Tess Gerritsen or Michael Crichton. As an educated layperson, his theory that memories can be stored in DNA and transmitted to subsequent generations seems plausible, given current medical practice and scientific thought. This is not a historical novel, however. He writes with authority about modern-day Boston and Moscow as well as 15th century Novgorod. But much more attention is paid to the present-day characters and storyline and, in the flashbacks, he describes but never quite manages to evoke the earlier period. Fans of fast-paced medical thrillers will enjoy Fatal Memories. Readers looking for details of Russian peasant life may prefer to look somewhere else.