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A short review of ‘ The Time Traveller’s Murder’ by Andrew French.

‘The Time Traveller’s Murder’ is a novel which is tricky to categorise – part mystery, part thriller and part Sci-Fi, it excells in crossing between genres to create an engrossing and entertaining story.

Set in the near future it tells the tale of an ex-detective (now turned private investigator) who gets drawn into an elaborate investigation involving time travel. However, as the story unfolds, French brings in several sub-plots which are interwoven cleverly and keep the reader engaged (and indeed guessing) as the main plot progresses.

From the opening line: ‘Detective Inspector Harry Hook flexed his fingers in anticipation of strangling a man’ we are introduced to characters who are rounded, three-dimensional and believable and French’s strong, realistic use of dialogue serves well to enable them to be visualised clearly. The back-stories of the main characters are drip-fed into the novel cleverly, helping to provide the reader for a deeper understanding of both them and their motivation.

The Sci-Fi element of the story is well researched and explained effectively, but also poses some interesting philosophical questions about the nature of time travel.

From the first chapter – which sets both the scene and tone of the book and gives the reader an outline of the lead character – we are lead through a series of twists and turns, many of which are quite unpredictable, and I found myself being sucked deeper and deeper into the book the more I read. Music plays a strong role throughout the book (look closely at the chapter titles!) and acts as a reminder that, despite time moving forward, links to our pasts are everywhere. 

If I were to level any criticism at this book (and it is a very minor point) it would be that I found one or two phrases to be a little stereotypical.

Overall this is a fantastic read which I would recommend for anyone who enjoys a good mystery, detective story, thriller or, indeed, a slice of Sci-Fi.

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