"Out of Time" Book Review
Written by Joel Harley
Published by DeadPixel Publications
Written by C.M Saunders
2014, 91 pages, Fiction
Released on September 12th 2014
Although I'm primarily a film guy, I do like a good read too. After burning myself out by reading too many Game of Thrones books back-to-back (the reasoning being that if anyone was going to spoil the TV show for me, it might as well be George RR Martin), I'd gone too long without having read anything more strenuous than a Batman comic book or Fangoria. Time to get back in the game.
Enter C.M Saunders's novella Out of Time, which is the perfect gateway book to getting back into a serious reading habit. Short, well-written and deftly paced, it's the very definition of an easy read. Following this, I demolished three considerably bigger books in short succession, so I have Saunders to thank for getting me back into the reading rhythm. Admittedly, every one of those books I read was better than Out of Time, but one of them was the new Stephen King and the other was the magnificent Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix, so Saunders shouldn't feel too bad.
Feeling under pressure during a particularly tiresome bout of writer's block, author Joe Dawson – creator of the time travelling Joshua Wyrdd series – decides to take a working holiday in the small beach town of Rhyl, Wales. Imagine his confusion when he wakes up on day two to find that he has literally travelled back in time over night. That he doesn't react with panic or terror becomes understandable when we learn of his Special Project – the nature of which you won't read about in any of his Joshua Wyrdd books. It's here where Out of Time is at its best.
A literary cross between Groundhog Day and Life on Mars, the book works its clichés to its advantage, wasting little time getting to the thick of it. I could do without ever reading another book about a struggling novelist (blame King) but Joe is a decent protagonist. That he comes across as unlikeable at first makes more sense by the second half, as does his surprising lack of worrying about the situation he finds himself in. The outcome is predictable and the final chapter a little too silly, but in a book as easy to read as this one, it's hard to hold that against Saunders. The author's depiction of sleepy little Rhyl is the story's strongest element, and one I wish we'd seen more of, particularly during the time travel scenes. More time spent in Rhyl, going darker with the twist and much more time travel fun would have have done the book wonders. As it is, it's entertaining but slight.
If you only read one book all week, Out of Time will be the best book you read all week.