A classic time-travel plot gets a modern spin in this debut novel.
Sam should have been set to marry the love of his life, Justin. Instead, he’s standing in his apartment wondering where Justin has disappeared. Justin’s mother, Peg, is only marginally helpful, as she loathes Sam almost as much as Sam loathes her. She points out that Justin would always talk about his travels in Japan as some of the best times of his life, so Sam goes to Japan to search for him. In a separate plotline, Sam finds himself in his childhood bedroom in his childhood body—but with the mind and experiences of his 38-year-old physician self. With his knowledge of the future, and specifically of his brother Hal’s murder, he sets out to change that most painful moment of his life. With the help of his school counselor, Betty, who believes young Sam when he spouts very adult language, he endeavors to save his brother from his fate. But can one person change the course of the future? And what if changing one thing renders the rest of Sam’s life impossible? As the narratives start to intertwine, Sam will discover how destiny and self-determination balance out to create the story of one’s life. Debut author Chambers effectively weaves together the two stories, creating tension between a man searching for love and a boy who may lack the power to alter his situation. The novel sets a consistent tone as cynical Sam starts to allow the mysteries of life and love to color his understanding of himself and others. Although the prose falls squarely into the thriller genre, there’s a thread of sentiment that rescues it from being pure pulp: “He looked like his heart had been broken so thoroughly that there wasn’t even a chance it could be repaired. Not even with all the king’s horses and all the king’s men.” Fans of both speculative fiction and contemporary thrillers will enjoy this addition to both genres.
A well-conceived, exciting story that will satisfy those looking for some emotion in their time-travel tales.