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The Shimmer (2018)

by Carsten Stroud

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436484,552 (3.5)2
How do you hunt a killer who can go back in time and make sure you're never born? A police pursuit kicks Sergeant Jack Redding of the Florida Highway Patrol and his trainee, Julie Karras, into a shoot-out that ends with one girl dead and another in cuffs, and the driver of the SUV fleeing into the Intracoastal Waterway. Redding stays on the hunt, driven by the trace memory that he knows that running woman--and he does, because his grandfather, a cop in Jacksonville, was hunting the same woman in 1957. Redding and his partner, Pandora Jansson, chase a seductive serial killer who can ride The Shimmer across decades. The pursuit cuts from modern-day Jacksonville to Mafia-ruled St. Augustine in 1957, then to the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1914. The stakes turn brutal when Jack, whose wife and child died in a crash the previous Christmas Eve, faces a terrible choice: help his grandfather catch the killer, or change time itself and try to save his wife and child. The Shimmer is a unique time-shifting thriller that will stay with you long after its utterly unforeseen and yet perfectly diabolical ending.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Five stars for the solid action at in the first third or so, one star for the time traveling stuff that marred it.

First things first, I love Carsten Stroud. I love his writing, and his Niceville trilogy is a freaking standout set of books that I devoured. I mean, where else are you going to get hard-boiled police procedural and action scenes that get your heart racing, while also diving into a southern gothic horror story?

I've also met the man, and he's a wonderfully humble and gracious guy.

So, of course I was looking forward to this novel. And for the first third, I was really digging it. Then...I was not.

Unfortunately, I simply couldn't buy into the whole shimmer thing to travel in time. I couldn't get behind Jack sort of not appearing in the past, then suddenly he's there.

Yes, it was neatly plotted for the most part, and yes, it was tied up nicely. But it was just a little too wonky to sit right with me. And there were times when the writing...how do I say this? ...the writing almost got too familiar. I can't explain it any more than it felt like Stroud was trying to talk to his readers on an individual and informal basis, as though he was sitting in the room telling you the story, but it was inconsistent enough to be jarring.

Overall, a good experiment, but ultimately, a failed one. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
The Shimmer by Carsten Stroud is a very clever time travel mystery that is fast-paced and engaging.

In the present, Florida Highway Patrol Sergeant Jack Redding and trainee Julia Karras are involved in a high speed chase of an SUV. After the vehicle pulls over, the driver runs off into the woods with the police hot on her heels. Inside the SUV, Jack and Julia find teenage sisters Rebecca and Karen Walker bound in the backseat. While Jack tries to locate the driver, Julia is tasked with setting the sisters free. When the situation quickly goes south, Julia is forced to protect herself from the girls and after Jack returns to assist her, the mystery woman in the woods vanishes. Later that same evening, Jack and fellow officer Pandora Jansson uncover a stunning link between the driver of the SUV and a case his grandfather, Clete Redding, worked on back in 1957. What, if any, connection could there possibly be between these two cases that take place decades apart?

Jack is unexpectedly presented with the opportunity to find out how the cases intersect when he travels back in time to 1957. He arrives at a pivotal moment in Clete's investigation into the mysterious woman he knows as Selena and her ties with the Vizzini crime family. Working together, Jack and Clete try to uncover the truth surrounding Selena and their investigation then takes them to New Orleans, where NOPD officer Annabelle Fontaine bears a stunning resemblance to someone from Jack's life in the present.

The coincidences keep coming at Jack when his path crosses with yet another person who plays an instrumental role in his life in the future. Jack's knowledge about events from the past also torment him as he and grandfather attempt to find out the truth about Selena, whom Jack is certain is murdering her way through time. What will happen if Jack and Clete try to intervene with history? More importantly, what if Selena attempts to manipulate events to her advantage? Is it possible to change the past without affecting the future? And will Jack and Clete figure out who Selena is and what exactly she is attempting to locating as she travels through time?

The Shimmer is an innovative and riveting mystery that incorporates Florida's history with the Mafia into the storyline. The time travel element is quite fascinating and this aspect of the plot raises some very intriguing questions about the unintended consequences of altering events from the past. Carsten Stroud completely wraps up the story arc about why Selena is traveling through time and Jack exacts his revenge for her role in a tragic loss. The novel ends with a stunning plot twist that is completely unforeseen, somewhat ambiguous and a little frustrating. Fans of the genre(s) do not want to miss this enjoyable time travel mystery.
( )
  kbranfield | Feb 3, 2020 |
You know what I like? Books about time travel. So, when I read the description of this book about a serial killer that can move through time, I knew I had to read it.

THE SHIMMER starts off strong with Sergeant Jack Redding of the Florida Highway Patrol and his trainee, Julie Karras, chasing a car that belongs to a family who has gone missing. When the woman driving the car takes off running from the car after it stopped, Jack is hot in pursuit. However, she manages to get away and Jack is left with a feeling that he has seen the woman before... but where? What he doesn't know then is that his grandfather hunted the same woman in 1957, but how can the same woman still be alive and look the same as she did back then? And, what happened to the family that owned the car?

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION! ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
Well enough written and with characters that aren't quite placeholders, still there is a level missing in all aspects except pacing in this time travel via death (shimmer appears at death, how is that not going to lead to body count) to keep it from being special. ( )
  quondame | Dec 7, 2018 |
Very different approach to time travel. Has romance... and blood and gore. I enjoyed it. ( )
  TaurusReader | Sep 28, 2018 |
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For The Love Of My Life
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An afternoon in late August, a Thursday,
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How do you hunt a killer who can go back in time and make sure you're never born? A police pursuit kicks Sergeant Jack Redding of the Florida Highway Patrol and his trainee, Julie Karras, into a shoot-out that ends with one girl dead and another in cuffs, and the driver of the SUV fleeing into the Intracoastal Waterway. Redding stays on the hunt, driven by the trace memory that he knows that running woman--and he does, because his grandfather, a cop in Jacksonville, was hunting the same woman in 1957. Redding and his partner, Pandora Jansson, chase a seductive serial killer who can ride The Shimmer across decades. The pursuit cuts from modern-day Jacksonville to Mafia-ruled St. Augustine in 1957, then to the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1914. The stakes turn brutal when Jack, whose wife and child died in a crash the previous Christmas Eve, faces a terrible choice: help his grandfather catch the killer, or change time itself and try to save his wife and child. The Shimmer is a unique time-shifting thriller that will stay with you long after its utterly unforeseen and yet perfectly diabolical ending.

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