Book review: Split Second by Douglas E. Richards

Split SecondSplit Second by Douglas E. Richards

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Physicist Nathan Wexler discovered how to send matter back one-half second in time. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? But the mathematics involved are of desperate interest to two separate groups, both of which are willing to go to any lengths to get their hands on Dr. Wexler and his equations. Wexler and his fiancée, Jenna Morrison, are kidnapped at gunpoint by one group and “rescued” by the other, but the rescue goes horribly horribly awry, and now Jenna is on the run. Alone.

The first half of the novel has to do with Jenna retrieving Nathan’s math. Although it’s revealed in the cover blurb, it isn’t until we’re halfway through the novel that the big time-travel idea makes its debut. The last half of the novel involves our heroine and her new-found protector, Aaron Blake, trying to stay out of the hands of the two mysterious factions after the time-travel formula. Car chases and hand-to-hand fighting and explosions abound.

As I read this, I was reminded of why I usually don’t read mass market genre fiction. Oh, it was a serviceable enough story, but predictable, cliché-ridden, and to tell the truth, so awful I could barely stand it. The reader is told on countless occasions — in fact, is nearly pounded over the head with the fact — that Nathan and Jenna both have incredibly unbelievably brilliant brilliant brilliant intellects; they must be the brightest people to have walked the face of the earth since Leonardo da Vinci. Plus, their colleagues’ brilliance is dimmed only by the supernovae that are Nathan and Jenna. And the former Special Forces/Black Ops-soldier-turned-private-detective, Aaron Blake? Wow, he’s just the most amazing, clever, resourceful reconnaissance-and-getting-out-of-scrapes guy ever!

By the time the time travel formula and its uses made an appearance, the only reason I was still reading was because I hadn’t figured out which group chasing our heroes were the good guys. But if you like predictable clichés, hyper-brilliant scientists, and lots of action and explosions, then this is the story for you.

I expect it to become optioned as the next Michael Bay movie at any moment.

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