I haven’t read every single one of Peter Clines’ novels (although I think I’ve only missed 2, and one is currently on my bookshelf waiting for me to get to it), but based on the books I have read, I have yet to find one that fell flat for me.
Paradox Bound is his latest novel, and it is a bizarre twist of a book compared to his zombie superhero novels and the world of 14 and The Fold. This one is Americana all the way through. It has a road trip (very American) in a Model A Ford, time travel, small towns that seem to live in the past, and a quest to find The American Dream, which is an actual object guarded by Faceless Men, which has been stolen.
Seriously, can you get more American than that?
Our entry point to the story is Eli Teague, who lives in one of those towns that seems out of sync with the rest of the world. Twice, as a kid, he runs into Harriet ‘Harry’ Pritchard and her Model A Ford that runs on water, and in one case a male travelling companion. The third time he runs into her, he ends up being pulled into her world, and the world of the other time travellers all searching for The American Dream. Unfortunately, this also brings him into the sights of the Faceless Men who kill anomalies, and are trying to recover the stolen dream that they had been tasked with guarding.
This leads to a road trip through the present, past, and future, and pulls in real historical figures, as well as legendary characters (such as John Henry, of the contest with the steam hammer fame).
The twists in the book manage somehow to be both predictable, and yet twisting expectations *just* enough to still surprise you, and the combination resulted in the book being intensely satisfying. I also liked that the fact that there was little to no romance between the two main characters, especially since Harry is recently (as much as you can tell with time travellers) widowed. Too many books insist on shoehorning in a romance between main characters, and the story isn’t always the better for it.
There are few writers that I will read without knowing anything about what the book is about. The list morphs over time, but currently, Peter Clines is high up on the list, and I look forward to seeing what he writes next.