Do you need an escape? A thrilling adventure? A way to loose yourself in a book for a few hours and forget about the time? “One Way” by author Jeff Lane may be the book for you!
Barry Griffith starts his day shoveling snow. He is a regular Joe, nothing special about him. He has a normal, boring job, loves his wife and family, makes time for them, loves watching movies in the weekends and he goes to church regularly. I really liked the way the author described this part of his life, giving us a sense of normalcy which included even small bickering with his wife.
The action, however, starts right away. While Barry begins his day in the most ordinary way, he ends it in a gas station where he finds his wife, Jenny, alone, no coat, in the cold, looking older than in the morning when he left his house. And with that, we enter an riveting, gripping chase. Barry and his wife are followed by two blooded killers and try, this time, to get away from them alive. This time, because the last time, when Barry was alone, he didn’t make it. That is what prompted his wife to go back in time and try and save him. The question is, of course, will she succeed or is fate something we cannot avoid – no matter the course of the actions, we get to the same place.
I loved this plot and book idea. It’s not my first “back in time” book I read (I also loved “The Time Traveler’s Wife”) and I loved how the time travel aspect was treated here, even though it came secondary. The book is first and foremost a thriller and, on that front, it did not disappoint either. I literally stayed up all night because the suspense of the chase was so enthralling!
But the book delivered on so much more! I loved how the stories were alternating. One storyline kept me on my toes in the present, with all the chase. The other one gave me a glimpse on Jenny’s life after Barry’s death and how she came to travel in time. The details made me understand her, feel her pain, empathize with her and love her as a character. I feel she was, out of all the characters in the book, the most complete one.
I also loved Barry and his way of coming up with plans. But most of all, I liked how he managed his family life. The way the novel opens with their bickering or how he swallows his pride and avoids having a fight when they talk on the phone – I found it was one of the best examples of showing a real-life relationship with its ups and downs.
On the other hand, I had some issues with the writing. I felt the suspense was perfectly written without employing the tactic of “little did he know these would be his final hours”, “this hunt would soon be reaching his climax”,”blood would be flying soon”. I feel statements like that are fine from time to time, but, here, they felt a bit exaggerated and useless. The chase was captivating enough without them and they felt distracting, because they were pulling me out of the story when I felt most immersed in it.
Another thing I felt would use some improving is the backstory for the killers. We have a glimpse into Jedidiah’s mind, but nothing of his motivation. Why is he a killer, how he came up with his balancing points system (because, and I loved that!, he has a logic to his murders and a way of deciding when and if to stop), how did he choose his partners. He is very interesting so I feel he could have been a lot more developed. Also, he is made out to be all bad, while his killing system makes us think he has a moral compass, a very weird one, but one nevertheless. I would have loved a little more in depth insight into his past that makes us understand him better, perhaps even empathize with him. On the other hand, he is a lot more developed than Rodney, the other killer. We know nothing of consequence about him.
And of course, the same goes about the other characters in the story. We have a psychologist, Dr. Peter Van der Vehn who is the one that helps Jenny get over the death of Barry. Given that she goes back in time, he is, evidently, not very successful at making her cope with his death. Of course, he has an ulterior reason for that. Though I liked how the relationship between him and Jenny evolves, I would have loved a little more depth into his background.
All in all, I loved this book and it ended tying the storylines in the most elegant way!
Its lacking points may be just me wishing it were longer: I really liked the characters so I find it very natural to want to know more about them. However, given the suspense it created, as a thriller, it was perfect! I was impressed by how much it got to me. I read it very fast and was surprised at how entertaining it all was. If you like a good chase, time travel, dual storylines and a lot of suspense, this book is for you!
P.S. I received the book from the author, but that has in no way swayed my review. I only review books I care about. If I won’t like a book, I simply won’t make a review about it, because I feel every book is special to some readers. If it wasn’t special for me, it may be that I wasn’t the audience intended for it.