Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: Lost In Time
AUTHOR: A.L. Lester
PUBLISHER: JMS Books
LENGTH: 173 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 6, 2018
Lew’s life is pleasantly boring until his friend Mira messes with magic she doesn’t understand. While searching for her, he is pulled back in time to 1919 by a catastrophic magical accident. As he tries to navigate a strange time and find his friend in the smoky music clubs of Soho, the last thing he needs is Detective Alec Carter suspecting him of murder.
London in 1919 is cold, wet, and tired from four years of war. Alec is back in the Metropolitan Police after slogging out his army service on the Western Front. Falling for a suspect in a gruesome murder case is not on his agenda, however attractive he finds the other man.
They are both floundering and out of their depth, struggling to come to terms with feelings they didn’t ask for and didn’t expect. Both have secrets that could get them arrested or killed. In the middle of a murder investigation that involves wild magic, mysterious creatures, and illegal sexual desire, who is safe to trust?
When his foster-sister disappears after attempting to “magic” her way into her dream job, Lew tries desperately to find her. But when he attempts the same spell that she did, he finds himself back in time–in 1919 England to be exact–and still with no clue as to where Mira might be. He can only hope that she is stuck in the past as well, since he has no idea how to get back to 2016. With no money, no friends, and no identity, Lew has to struggle his way thru post-war England to find Mira–or at least not get thrown in a mad-house and/or arrested for acts that are most definitely not legal nearly a century before his time. Oh, and he also might have unleashed an man-eating monster on unsuspecting London. Oops.
I love time-travel. I adore historical England. I…meh this book?
Look, I am not saying this is a bad story. It is competently written, there are some scenes that are real fun to read, and it a time-travel story that doesn’t spend its whole length trying its utmost to NOT DO ANYTHING INTERESTING because that might change the future (or keep the reader awake). But for a lot of it I couldn’t help feel that this isn’t the story the author wanted to write. That what they wanted to write was the story that comes after this one–and they kinda just had to get a lot of this whole set-up out of the way first. Nearly almost the whole of the first half of this book could have been done as summary or exposition…or something, because it dragged. Mostly because there was little character interaction, and hardly any (key) plot movement. And while my favorite part of time-travel is the whole acclimating to a new time period portion, I didn’t mind that the author chose to skip a lot of that. Except it didn’t just go right for the meat of the story, it meandered around in scenes that could have easily been tackled in a paragraph or two.
Things do start to pick up once Detective Alec Carter and Lew start to interact–and the creature finally takes center stage–but by then I was left totally uninterested in the characters themselves. Especially certain ones that are later used to try and tug on the heartstrings. If the story wanted me to care about their welfare, it really needed to have put more time into them. Because, yeah, while people dying is bad…if you want to me care, even a little, you have to give me a reason more than “that person over there loves them.”
While I can’t say this book is bad, I can’t say it was good either. It is very much a shoulder-shrugger. This was not at all helped by the fact that the book just kinda ended. Stopped. Resolved nothing at all. And that I didn’t care that there is no real ending–it didn’t make me angry, didn’t make me long for the sequel–is a testament to how little this book had an impact on me.
It is a book that does no harm, but doesn’t offer many rewards either.