Sunday, February 3, 2013

Out Of Time - Monique Martin

    2010; 296 pages.  Full Title : Out of Time : A Time Travel Mystery.  Book 1 of “Out of Time” series.  New Author? : Yes.  Genre : Romance, Time Travel.  Overall Rating : 5*/10.

    Due to a temporal mishap, Professor Simon Cross and graduate assistant Elizabeth West find themselves transported back to 1929 New York City, just before the stock market crash.  They won’t be able to return to the present for at least six weeks, maybe not at all.  So they better figure out how to make some money and blend in with the crowd.

    In their spare time, they might also want to get to know each other better, since Elizabeth is secretly enamored by the Professor, and Simon is secretly enamored by his grad assistant.  And watch out for vampires.

What’s To Like...
    Let’s clear up any genre confusion – Out of Time is first and foremost a Romance.  Time-Travel is of secondary importance, and Vampirism a distant third.  Despite the title and the Amazon blurb, there is no “Mystery” here.

    The 1929 New York setting has a nice feel to it.  It is obvious that Monique Martin spent some time researching the era, and Simon and Elizabeth are fond of seeing the sights while they wait out the 6 weeks.  That's kewl.

    There is only one chrono-hop, but ANAICT each book in the series will transport our two heroes to a different time, maybe also to a different place.  The mechanics of the time-travel are nicely done, structured in such a way that you can’t just go hopping around willy-nilly.  The story moves at a good pace, without any major slow spots.  The ending ties things up neatly.

    There are weaknesses.  Although the Elizabeth and Simon characters are well-developed, and also the bartender Charlie Blue; all the others are pretty 2-dimensional.  The Vampire is a total waste of time (was it a ploy to nab some of the Twilight readers?), he could have just as easily been cast as a stereotypical 1920’s gangster.

    The romance is overdone.  It seems like every third sentence is used to remind the reader that the two protagonists have the hots for each other, but are too shy or socially-repressed to speak up.  The first kiss is at 38%, it’s not too long after that that they jump into the sack.  This isn’t really a spoiler; you know from the first page that this is gonna happen sooner or later.

Kewlest New Word…
    Sophistry (noun) : the use of fallacious arguments, especially with the intent of deceiving.

    Charlie patiently taught her what each drink was and, thankfully, she was a quick study.  A Yack Yack was a glass of bourbon flavored with iodine and burnt sugar.  A Panther was whiskey with a touch of fusel oil.  When the bartender asked you to pick your poison, he wasn’t kidding.  (loc. 1621)

    “Where did you learn to fight like that, or am I better off in ignorance?”
    “Daddy.  Thought it was a good idea for me to learn a little self defense.  What about you?”
    “Boarding school.  My first year I learned how to take a punch.  My second, how to give one.”
    “And your third?”
    “That it’s better to avoid them altogether.”  (loc. 4777)

Kindle Details...
    You can download Out Of Time for free at Amazon.  Monique Martin has published three more books in the series; they all sell for $3.99.

“First rule of time travel, my boy.  Always bring your own tea.”  (loc. 5494)
    The premise for Out Of Time is good; and the blending of genres is ambitious.  The problem is the storytelling itself.  You can spot the vampire immediately, and if you’re going to drop such creatures into a novel, there ought to be some mystery about them.  Make some of the characters “gray”; here they are all unchangeably good or evil.

    Most of all, throw some twists into the tale.  With one minor exception at the end, everything here is boringly straightforward.  Make the vampire someone you don’t suspect; give the priest some function beyond offering fatherly advice; “turn” one of the secondary characters with a bite to the neck; throw a 1920’s love interest at one of our heroes; give some plot justification for landing just before the stock market crash.

    It’s hard to give an objective rating for Out Of Time, since Love Stories are not my cup of tea.  Who knows, maybe the Harlequin books my wife reads are also Romance-heavy and Story-light.  5 Stars (out of 10).  Add two more stars if you are looking for a Time Traveler’s Wife type of book, and one star if you actually think Twilight is a good series.

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