Book Review: Paradox Bound

Paradox Bound
Peter Clines
Crown Publishing Group
(c) 2017 by the author

If “Doctor Who” was American.

That’s about it.

Teenager Eli Teauge lives in Sanders, MA – basically “The Town That Time Forgot”. The town is stuck in the past. No cell phone towers, an actual video rental store…. After two encounters with a woman in a tricorn hat and a frock coat who is driving a modified Model A Ford, he winds up joining her at their third encounter. And they’re off on a rollicking ride through American history, searching for a magical McGuffin that’s supposed to allow its possessor the ability to change the destiny of the nation.

Yeah, pretty much an American “Doctor Who”. I did spot one direct reference to Doctor Who; there are probably more.

There are “time lords” – a group of people traveling around the USA in vintage vehicles, looking for the “American Dream” (seriously, that’s what it’s called). They take advantage of spots where things haven’t changed over long periods to “slip” through time. There’s a cabal of literally faceless people trying to stop them; apparently they want the Dream for their own reasons.

The central conceit is that in order to get the colonists to accept the idea of an independent nation, Benjamin Franklin and the other Freemason founders literally conjured up a magical item that they could use to gradually and gently persuade people to go along with their idea – and ideal. Yeah, it is really hokey. At least there’s no pontificating on what to do with the thing once it’s recovered.

As an aside, I have to wonder. Do people who are bullies when they are young stay bullies when they become adults? And if so, do they always target the same person? Seems one of Eli’s bullies in school grows up and is still out to get him. It’s a trope that probably needs to be put to rest.

Anyway, despite the bullying trope and the hokey “Dream”, this is a really good action adventure yarn. It closes all its time loops, even the ones you didn’t realize it was setting up. Clines has a couple of other novels out there; I think I’ll check them out.

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