Thrillers involving bad marriages are coming thick and fast, both to the bookshelf and the screen. With titles like Gone Girl and Before I Go To Sleep, just to name a couple of recent examples. In these thrillers the idea of marriage, and relationships in general, is deconstructed as characters come to realise how much they don't know about their loved ones. They are the dark side of chick-lit, exploring broken relationships rather than ideal ones. Generally these stories are played as thrillers and Remember Me This Way is no exception.
One year after the death of her husband Zach, Lizzie finally gets up the courage to visit the place where his car crashed. When she gets to the spot she finds that someone else has already left flowers for Zach and gets a glimpse into the idea that he may have had another life. As the clues mount and strange things start to happen, Lizzie begins to suspect that Zach, a control freak who learnt that she wanted a break from him, has faked his death in order to take a slow revenge on her.
Zach is a sociopath, a point made clear through his diary entries that come as alternate chapters and chart the development of their relationship. Lizzie herself is an incredibly passive character, easy prey for a sociopath like Zach. Neither character is particularly interesting or engaging and seeing the same events from each of their points of view does nothing to make them more interesting. However, Durrant uses this relationship to explore how their controlling and passive characters creates a mutual neediness.
Remember Me This Way is an extremely slow burn psychological thriller. So slow that the thrills tend to evaporate and the climax is telegraphed well ahead of time. Without that thriller element firing, all that is left is a couple of not particularly interesting characters and the psychology of a destructive relationship.