Saturday, October 30, 2021

The Shadows of London (Joseph Bridgeman #2)


The Shadows of London is a humorous and engaging time travel mystery by Nick Jones. Released 1st June 2021 by Blackstone, it's 350 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. 

Although it's the second book in the series, it works perfectly well as a standalone. The author does a great job of providing the necessary backstory (although there *are* abundant spoilers for the first book covered in the second, so if readers wish to read the first book before diving into the second, they should read them in order). In fact, that's one of the things which struck me throughout - the author is very adept at his craft. The narrative is very well plotted (time travel is *tricky* to write) and although told in back and forth time hops between current and 1960s London, I never felt disoriented or confused about what was happening at any point. 

I loved the take on time travel that nothing in the past is fixed and that watershed moments have quite profound effects on future timelines. I also enjoyed the ramifications of making a profound jump in time and "fixing" something to find that you're suddenly thrust into the life of the "not-you" whom you've displaced with your meddling. Protagonist Joe faces this exact problem, popping into the timeline and displacing "other Joe" and trying to convince everyone that he just had a bump on the head (mountain biking "accident") and figuring it out on the fly. His new life throws him even more complications in the form of a group of "fixers" who intend to recruit him into service whether he wants to join them or not (he doesn't). 

There are some genuinely funny moments and the whole has a quaint and very British vibe. There's a surprising amount of dramatic tension and a frisson of danger. I found Joe likable (if hapless) and easy to relate to. The plot, denouement, and resolution are quite cleverly constructed and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series with anticipation. 

Four and a half stars. Fun, clever, and entertaining.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.  

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