Shirley Steadman has a straightforward life. The 70 year old lives near the local hospital, where the centre of her life is her volunteer work on the hospital radio. It provides some calm for her as she tries to deal with the past trauma in her life – her long dead abusive husband and her son who committed suicide – the latter of who’s ghost has begun to haunt her, which at least gives her someone to talk to.
And then one day, at work, she tunes at random into a random AM radio station, and listens to a brief news cast. It seems at the time that the date on the broadcast is wrong – it is for the next day – but when one of the events, an accident for a local businessman, comes true, it seems she has managed to tune in to the future. When, however, the radio station starts predicting murders – murders of people that Shirley knows – things take an even more sinister turn…
Well, it can’t be easy to classify Chris McGeorge’s work. His opening novel, Guess Who?, was touted as a locked room mystery, but apart from that misclassification – sorry, but this misuse of the term by the publishing industry REALLY bothers me – it was an entertaining thriller. Locked In tried to do the classic locked room mystery and while it was a fun thriller, the locked room element of it was the weakest part. Here he takes on a different impossible mystery, an original problem as far as I am aware. Or does he? Because that is the advantage of a non-series author – there is every chance that there could be a sci-fi element going on here, and I’m not going to be the one to spoil if there is or isn’t. Which does, however, make it pretty hard to review…
It’s another fun read, with some clever ideas going on. It does take its time to get going, but when it hits its first major twist – a very impressive one – it takes off with some pace. But I really can’t write about those bits, as it definitely comes into the category of spoilers.
So what can I say? Well, over all, it just about works. There are some ambitious ideas here, and in places, logic does fall a little by the wayside. The murderer’s identity seemed inevitable to me from too early in the book, and there is an issue, I think, with the early predictions, as a little too much coincidence is on display here. Oh, and there’s something right at the death that I could have done without.
But overall, it’s a clever idea, with a strong central character, that keeps the reader’s attention once events kick off. If you want to read something a little different, why not give it a go?
Half Past Tomorrow was released in ebook and paperback on August 5th. Many thanks to the publisher for the e-review copy.