When Time Is A River, Susan Clayton-Goldner
When Time Is A River, Susan Clayton-Goldner
Genre: thriller, mystery and suspense.
I loved Susan’s A bend in the Willow, so when she offered me this book for review I jumped at it.
I’m primarily a romance reader, but enjoy other genres from time to time. A few years back I was mainly a thriller reader, and Susan’s style of writing reminds me of the best of them, Nicci French, Mary Higgins-Clark, John Grisham, James Patterson, Dick Francis ( the horses were the draw there of course!) All of those deliver a great story, slowly building up to a climax that keeps the reader wondering, from the little clues dropped in, just who is behind things and why.
The characters here are so real, flawed like most of us, and that always works for me. I want real people not storybook perfect clones.
Brandy loves her little sister but doesn’t get on so well with Step-mum Christine. She’s only four years older than Brandy. Prior to her dad meeting her at the university where he works she had Kathleen as her nanny since she was a toddler, and of course they all felt like one happy family and she resents Christine. Still, Brandy’s a sweet girl, loves her dad, adores little Emily, and tries with Christine and they’ve developed a kind of working relationship. I feel for her, it must have been hard when her father told her Christine was pregnant.
I feel for Christine too, a baby wasn’t in her plans, she’s had to give up university and her life has been upended. Instead of fun, parties and boyfreinds she’s married and looking after a toddler. That’s wasn’t in her plans when she started an affair with her professor.
Then there’s her dad, he’s like most, fallible, and his weakness in sleeping with Christine changed his life too. Of course there are others connected to them, who also have been brought into the group, had plans derailed, but would – could – any of them be responsible for Emily’s disappearance?
This awful event throws a deep crack into a family that’s kind of just getting along, still full of sharp edges and tentacles of resentment. Emily’s disappearance will either strengthen them or break them entirely.
Its not the first hard thing for Brandy and her dad top deal with, her mum died when she was very young, and she’s undergone many surgeries on her face from a horrific accident when she was tiny. She wants to be an actress, has incredible talent and wonderful voice but is scared her looks will fail her. Its a sad thing isn’t it, that we rely so much on beauty and supposed “perfection” in our celebrities.
We follow the story mainly via Brandy, and of course Radhauser. He’s no stranger to tragedy and each case like this takes a toll on him.
He and Brandy are both very conscious of the 48 hour timeline, that abducted people are less likely to survive after that and are pulling out all the stops to find Emily. He’s really good in that he doesn’t treat Brandy as just a kid, she’s 18, but that’s an age where some are adult and some aren’t. In some ways Brandy is older than her years, and the way her thinking runs, especially after the way Radhauser sets her tasks to recollect all her memories of the event, is crucial to the story. He doesn’t really know what he’s started on the steamroller juggernaut in search of answers Brandy becomes. At times he wants to just tell her to stop, that she’s in danger of hindering and not helping, but he can see why she’s so determined, and understands her reactions. And of course each time she finds out something relevant, however tiny the information, just makes her more determined.
I loved how we saw her thinking, how we understood along with her just how events could have played out, how she came to the conclusion she did because we also had the same information. Somehow Susan managed to get us to understand her thinking by way of letting us reach conclusions along with her. I hate it when a story “tells” me whats going to happen, rather than letting it play out and my reaching my own conclusions, and here Susan lets me work things out along with Brandy and Radhauser, though the ending and person completly caught me out.
It all takes place over a two day period, and seeing events come to light, adding up tiny clues to see which were real and which led no-where was fascinating. I usually like books that cover a longer time-span, but this is so detailed, the characters felt so real that I was pulled into the story and that just didn’t matter to me. Its another great read, out of my usual romance comfort zone but one I thoroughly enjoyed.
Stars: Five, a riveting and well planned suspense read, that kept me gripped to the end.
ARC supplied for review purposes by author