Nick Polchak is spending some time in the Poconos the week of his wedding. Unfortunately, it’s murder and not marriage that brings him to the popular honeymoon destination.
That’s the kickoff for Nick of Time, a new thriller by Tim Downs. This story is the latest in a series of novels about a brilliant, yet socially awkward forensic entomologist. His study of insects that collect on corpses enables him to solve countless crimes, which makes him something of a minor celebrity among other forensic scientists.
Nick heads out of town just days before his wedding to Alena, a dog trainer who is almost as quirky as himself, to assist a colleague who’s stumped by a cold case. Needless to day, she is unhappy with his prenuptial road trip, and fears that it will interfere with the ceremony.
I found the story to be very engrossing. Nick is a refreshingly original sleuth, and the murder mystery that captivates him to the point of forgetting about the girl he’s left behind, arrested me as well.
The author is masterful with dialogue throughout Nick of Time. Nick, Alena, and the supporting cast of suspects and law enforcement professionals pepper each other with witty remarks and sarcasm at a pace that reminded me of the banter between Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd in the 80s television series Moonlighting.
In fact, the verbal zingers are just a little too plentiful. When everyone in a story has a perfectly timed, comedic comeback, it feels like the author’s voice is drowning out the characters. Given Tim Down’s past experience as a comic strip creator, where each panel requires a humorous moment, that shortfall is understandable.
That minor weakness aside, I found Nick of Time to be the most enjoyable Christian novel I’ve read all year. From it’s fast start to it’s unexpected and emotionally complex conclusion, this book is a great choice for your summertime reading.
The publisher provided me a complimentary book. I provided a complimentary book review. In other words, if the book was crappy, I could have told you without jeopardizing a paycheck. Sounds about right doesn’t it?