Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister – Book Review

WOW. You know when you really, really look forward to reading a book? Wrong Place Wrong Time gave me that anticipation and absolutely did not disappoint! I’d heard such great things about it (correctly it turns out) and it has such a unique hook. Wrong Place Wrong Time is a crime thriller with a real difference.

Opening sentence: Jen is glad of the clocks going back tonight.

A murder told backwards

Set in Merseyside, Jen is married to Kelly and they have a teenage son, Todd. Jen experiences a mother’s worst nightmare when she witnesses her son committing a murder. Her reaction is visceral and extreme, as you would expect, but this seems to have a consequence Jen wasn’t expecting… every time she wakes up, she goes back in time. Back to before Todd killed a man, giving Jen an opportunity to solve the murder before it actually happens.

If this is really, truly, happening, it is Jen’s job to stop the murder. To figure out the events leading up to it, and to intervene.

Now, if you’re thinking this all seems a little far-fetched, DON’T! What Wrong Place Wrong Time does exceptionally well is jump right in there and answer all your questions. Jen’s own disbelief about the time loop situation vocalises all your doubts, so it all feels quite genuine. You have to go with the flow, Jen has triggered a time loop (it could happen) and that’s the story we’re in.

The guilt of motherhood

There’s also a really interesting secondary theme of mum-guilt and parenting. Jen looks back to the way she parented her son. Being a lawyer meant she was at work a lot, or at least prioritised work, and now she gets to relive these days with her son, she sees things with a fresh perspective.

What makes somebody commit a crime? Well, maybe it’s about her mothering of him.

These kind of thoughts plague every working mother and it was refreshing to see them so eloquently captured here (although yes, in an extreme circumstance).

Jaw on the floor moments

I had at least three jaw-dropping ‘whaattttttt????’ moments while reading this. It’s been a while since a thriller has taken me on such a adventure, I loved the twists in the already unique plot and didn’t see the big reveals coming.

But knowing the future is worse than not knowing. Isn’t it?

Complex and so clever, Wrong Place Wrong Time is the best thriller with a heart I’ve read in a very long time. It’s an epic love story, it’s a time-warping crime thriller, it’s a family drama, it’s an exploration of a mother’s love for her son and it’s a master of disguise. I really didn’t want it to be over – loved every page of it, and will be recommending it to everyone!

Speaking of recommendations, if you like the sound of this, you should also try Impossible by Sarah Lotz, which also has a time-bending theme.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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