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Thursday, September 1, 2022

Book review: Lost in Time by A.G. Riddle


Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

AUTHOR INFO: A.G. Riddle spent ten years starting and running internet companies before retiring to focus on his true passion: writing fiction. He is the author of ten novels that have sold nearly five million copies worldwide in twenty languages. He lives in North Carolina. For more, visit www.agriddle.com


Publisher: Head of Zeus -- an AdAstra Book (September 1, 2022) Length: 416 p Cover art: 

Lost in Time has a great cover and a great premise. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite live up to them, but it's solid popcorn fun. 

The Absolom, a time travel device, allows governments to imprison criminals in the prehistoric past. One of its inventors, Sam Anderson, is arrested and accused of killing Nora Thomas, his lover, and co-inventor of Absolom. He didn't commit the crime but must take responsibility for it - or his daughter Adeline will be framed for it.

The government uses Absolomn to send Sam to the Triassic period, where he has to deal with dinosaurs, lack of food, and earthquakes. His arc resembles a blend of Lost and Jurassic Park but is much more bland and streamlined.

In the present (sort of) timeline, Adeline is trying to find the real killer of Nora and find a way to rescue her father. There's a massive twist at brewing, so I'll stop with the synopsis. Suffice to say, all of Absolom's creators and investors hide secrets and painful pasts.

A.G. Riddle understands the market and knows the tastes of fans of techno-thrillers. He knows how to mix simplistic science with family drama and create uncomplicated but relatable characters. I mentioned that the creators of Absolom have secrets, and they do. Only none of them are truly nefarious, and their actions are driven by grief, compassion, and the need to atone for their sins.

The author excels at delivering short chapters with mini-hooks that force readers to read "just one more chapter." Good twists and personal stakes add to the excitement. 

Still, I have a few criticisms of the book. First, Riddle's writing style is bland and clinical, and his dialog often seems unconvincing ( subjective ). The story and characters lack nuance, but that's not necessarily a bad thing because it makes the book easy to read for a wide audience. It just wasn't enough to excite me. I have a problem with the logic of sending depraved criminals to prehistoric times and with the logistics of time travel. It's not a deal breaker, though. But the biggest problem I have concerns the ending, and it's the kind of a problem I can't discuss in a review. Suffice to say, I'm not a fan of micro-utopias.

In all, Lost in Time is a fun popcorn read with both emotional and scientific thrills and well-placed twists. Fans of fast-paced techno-thrillers should give it a go.


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