In McFarren’s (Twisted Threads, 2017) sci-fi novel, a stunt flier has an opportunity to change her parents’ tragic history after she’s thrown back in time.
In 2013, Skylar Haines is a troubled, self-harming 16-year-old orphan living with her wealthy but emotionally cold grandfather. After her best friend is murdered in a carjacking, she summons the nerve to run away from home and get a job doing the only thing that makes her happy: doing stunts as a daredevil pilot. One day in 2018, while performing a perilous routine above Reno, Nevada, the young aviator soars into a thunderhead and mysteriously finds herself cast back into 1997—the same year that her pilot father, Dylan Haines, whom she never knew, died during a drug-smuggling caper. Skylar meets him straightaway, although he, of course, doesn’t recognize her. As she watches the tragic events of history play out, she realizes that she’s been deceived about what really happened. Can Skylar change the fate of her ill-starred relations? McFarren combines elements of paranormal time travel with a fast-paced crime story starring an especially agonized heroine. Many readers will likely be attracted to this tale featuring a forceful, time-tripping female protagonist. The narco-thriller element of the novel, with its head-spinning revelations, betrayals, and secret identities, might have worked better without the time-warp twist, which sometimes becomes a distraction. At one point, for instance, cops are conveniently (and oddly) lax about checking into Skylar’s background even as they use her as an informant. However, the author does pilot the complex plotline to a satisfactory landing—one that begs a comparison to the more mystical musings in Richard Bach’s equally air-minded New Age yarns.
A turbulent but well-handled time-travel/aviation/drug-crime thriller.