Title : Paradox Lost
Author : Libby Drew
Publisher : Carina Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Science Fiction
Length : 84,000 words
Published : January 27, 2014
Rating : ★★★1/2
Time-travel tour guide Reegan McNamara’s job—taking eager tourists to whenever they want to go—is usually a breeze. A trip back to 2020 to watch a world-changing speech seems no different, until a woman runs away from his tour group before the jump home. Now her tycoon husband is demanding her safe return—or Reegan will lose more than just his job.
P.I. Saul Kildare’s business is running on borrowed time. Due to a messy break with the police, he can’t get a referral to save his life. When an enigmatic stranger bangs on his door one night and promises a windfall for a missing-person case, it seems too good to be true. But the two men have an immediate connection, and Saul can’t pass up the chance to spend more time with Reegan, even if he’s clearly hiding something.
Saul knows he shouldn’t trust Reegan, and Reegan knows he can’t get involved with Saul. But as their attraction evolves into feelings neither can deny, will they have the strength to take a leap of faith—together?
Reegan McNamara has problems. He loves his job despite the difficulties, but his relationship with his boss is very strained as a result of Reegan’s own actions that almost cost a young woman her life. As he prepares to take a group of people on a jaunt to see a historic speech, Reegan notices a woman he remembers from his childhood, Silvia. Her behavior is odd and she doesn’t remember him, but he decides to keep an eye on her nonetheless. Things go fine in the past until Reegan realizes Silvia is gone. She’s managed to escape her bio bracelet and hide her escape. Reegan returns everyone else back to their own time only to find Silvia’s husband demanding she be returned to him immediately or the whole business will be destroyed. Reegan goes back to the past and finds private investigator Saul Kildare. Saul is not at a happy place in his life. He’s desperately struggling to say sober and is just about to give up the battle when Reegan knocks on his door and wants to hire him to find a missing woman. The attraction is instant. Reegan is also willing to pay a lot of money to find the missing woman, Silvia, immediately. Luckily, Saul is pretty sure he spotted her earlier in the evening and as such has a general idea of where to find her. Saul is also certain Reegan is keeping information from him. Reegan is in fact keeping from Saul that he’s from the future and the universe will be trying to kill him and Silvia as they inadvertently let slip little things that could cause some kind of temporal paradox. The classic Grandfather Paradox isn’t true, as the universe will do whatever it takes to prevent a paradox from occurring. Reegan almost dies when a stray bullet strikes a glancing blow on his face. He doesn’t have a lot of time to find Silvia and get back to his own time. The universe will be trying to kill her as well.
After a sexually eventful night and two more almost deadly accidents, Saul and Reegan begin to find a lead on Silvia. That’s when Reegan notices the goons who work for Silvia’s husband are also in the past. Saul and Reegan are now not only racing to find Silvia before the universe kills her, but they’re racing to find her before the goons do. While they have some time to rest, Saul finally asks Reegan for the whole story. Reegan spills the truth. Saul disbelieves him and is actually quite hurt. The two men are getting very close very quickly. Saul is still willing to help Reegan find Silvia, but more for her sake than for Reegan’s or even the money. Silvia is at a local women’s shelter. Unfortunately, she runs as soon as she sees someone is looking for her. She ends up running right into the clutches of her husband’s goons. Reegan is able to distract the goons, but Silvia escapes again. When Saul and Reegan do finally find her they go to the one place that seems to be safe, Saul’s secretary’s apartment. Saul finally understands and accepts the whole story of time travel and Silvia realizes she has to go back. What they really need is a plan to do it all safely. Saul is crushed when he learns all the limitations of time travel and what it means for the budding relationship he has with Reegan. Saul is determined to get Reegan and Silvia home safely no matter the cost to himself.
I didn’t love this book, but there were some things I was pleased with. I really like that we weren’t again stuck with the Grandfather Paradox as the main conflict in a time travel book, or even the Butterfly Effect. As a regular reader of science fiction I feel like those have been done to death. Here we have the theory of Closed Timelike Curves, referred to as “loops,” that provide the conflict as well as the mode for the travel itself. I also really liked that Saul’s struggles with alcoholism were real and constant. So many stories with addicts fail to depict the constant reminders and choices addicts are faced with. Saul will always be an addict, he will always struggle regardless of where or when he lives.
There were some things I didn’t like. The plot rests on Reegan going back in time to find Silvia to save her life but also to prevent her husband from destroying the business. Reegan was immediately aware something was really wrong in Silvia’s life and he knew she would be up to something. Reegan immediately realized Silvia’s husband was a grade A creep. Reegan never seemed to make the connection that his life and job were going to be ruined regardless of returning with Silvia or not. I’m not going to go so far as to say this was a plot hole, but it sure didn’t do a lot to make me think Reegan was a quick thinker. Also, some of the plot aspects felt too convenient or almost heavy handed for me. It was very plausible that Reegan would know Silvia from his childhood and that Saul would have lost his sister to domestic violence and as such felt a need to protect Silvia. I found it convenient that they then managed to find their way to each other and need to save the woman together. It’s plausible, but I didn’t like it. Despite the things that I felt were flaws, I think I would still recommend this book to science fiction fans for the change of pace in regards to the time travel alone. In addition to that the romance between Saul and Reegan was nice.
Rated 3.5 stars by Faye