It’s the near future, and a world where technology is definitely advanced. I liked the discussion of auto-houses and holographic quills (phones!) and driverless car-pods that take you where you need to go. That was all fun stuff, for me! *removes geek hat*
Kit Rafferty is an engineer building a portal lock for the time-travel gates maintained in secrecy by the Temporal Research Institute. Seems that someone from the past (Janos, in Time Waits) stumbled through an unlocked portal, and they don’t want that to ever happen again. Kit is a young gay man who loves working for the TRI and enjoys working with his brilliant boss, the gate inventor, Tom. Unfortunately, the book opens with Tom’s alleged kidnapping. The police are involved before the TRI staff can lock down the site—on account of it happening at Tom’s country residence, and secret tech lab.
Detective Inspector Jacob Ofori is on the case of a missing scientist. He is a stalwart and fit Ghanian who emigrated to the UK as a child. He’s gay, but quiet about it, on account of his family disowning him. He’s not pleased with the answers he’s getting from the TRI, and feels like he’s being snowballed. Spoiler alert: he is. The TRI can’t tell ANYONE about the time travel, but how can anyone explain how one of the kidnappers, found dead on the scene, has a high-tech electronic eyeball replacement that no one’s even invented yet?
Kit is called in to help DI Ofori identify Tom’s hardware and to ascertain what was stolen from his home. It’s enough of a connection that these two recognize an attraction, even if it can only bring trouble.
I liked this one. It’s a bit of mystery and an adversaries-to-lovers story, as both men have secrets to protect and information to glean from the other. Made for a nice bit of cat and mousery, and some yummy sexytimes.
The story is told from dual points-of-view, so we got to see the inner turmoil each man had for trying to deceive the other, and, likewise, to deceive their work comrades as their love affair grows. I think that worked best, because Jacob would have come off as too callous and mercenary if we hadn’t a window to his heart and mind. At first, I thought the book was too long for the plot, but then a third subplot was woven in, which gave us an insight to the cause of all this destruction, as (believe me) by the end the TRI and DI Ofori’s career are a shambles. Doesn’t mean it’s not a satisfying end, however.
I really enjoyed the appearances of Janos and Dieter from Time Waits. They had important roles here, and their back story was revealed enough in this one that it was understandable in context, even if the reader hasn’t read their book. As I had, I think I experienced a little higher tension than someone who hadn’t read it, but not by much. As I read a review copy that had no cover art, I think I missed that Jacob was a black man for roughly 90% of the story. It’s likely my American bias, but he didn’t read as any sort of foreign national, and there was nearly no reference to his skin color or ethnicity in the book until the very end. I adore interracial romance and found the lack of any insight there to be a disservice. It’s heavily British, though, so if that’s a bell you like rung, you’ll be satisfied.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.