In this sci-fi novel, an accountant aims to balance the books when a nefarious corporation’s secret experiments leave her with an unusual side effect: time travel.
Reaching for her breakfast cereal, Sara García, 37, finds herself transported back to 1975 and age 12. Before long, she returns to the year 2000, wondering whether she’s going crazy. Things are strained at her Long Island home; she and her husband, Jon, both accountants, haven’t been close since her late-term miscarriage. Another time flash proves that her past can be changed, frightening Sara into seeing her doctor, who explains that she’s been injected with an illegal serum as part of a mind-control experiment. She must go on the run with a special agent—who turns out to be Steve Ranger, Sara’s college boyfriend. He explains how the injections induce time travel; that Domestic Global—her husband’s workplace—is responsible; and that Jon is actually the company’s secret operative. Something seems fishy about Steve, and Sara still doesn’t know whom to trust after he drugs her and Jon arrives to either kidnap or rescue her. Dramatic events and time flashes keep changing the ground under her feet as Sara pieces the truth together. With the threat of time travel–induced irreversible aging, Sara has a dwindling opportunity to flash back and stop Domestic Global once and for all. The opening pages suggest that Sara’s a standard chick-lit heroine obsessed with dieting, but Ayers (The Dead Boy Sings in Heaven, 2018, etc.) is up to something much more original and engaging. Besides the intertwined thriller and sci-fi elements (fairly plausible), Sara learns a great deal about herself and her relationships in trying to change reality, revelations she couldn’t have had without time travel. Her love of books and music adds to her character’s complexity, and unexpected depths are revealed in several well-drawn side characters, even Sara’s cold, critical mother. The pace could be tighter, bogging down about two-thirds through, but it does pick up toward the end, with a satisfaction-filled conclusion. And there’s a touch of magic in Gallo, Sara’s marvelous cat.
An entertaining, well-written tale offering intriguing speculations and a heroine of courage and determination.