Danny Comes Home - Dave Schmelzer

This one was recommended by Nate; it's written by a mutual acquaintance (though one that I don't know as well as he does). It's classified as "fiction/thriller," and it's a sort of time-travel mystery. How the time-travel itself works isn't a huge plot point, so it's not really a science fiction novel.

A brief synopsis: Danny Clarke, a physicist from California, winds up in 19th-century Ireland—and, surprisingly, discovers that people have been waiting for him. Soon he finds himself in the middle of events not quite in his control: Druids with a mysterious agenda, a band of rational progressives, and the British army are all after him, and it's unclear whose side he should be on.

I don't know a whole lot about Irish history or its culture, so I'm not one to judge whether Schmelzer did a good job of portraying the Irish. I did enjoy the story, and found it an easy read, although I did get a bit confused with the geography. I did find that I was constantly aware of the fact that Schmelzer, a white man living in Massachusetts, was trying to write convincing dialogue for Andre, a black police officer from East Palo Alto, and it was hard to decide whether he was more than a stereotype. The romantic side-plot was both expected and a little clumsily handled, but passable.

Overall, it's not necessarily the sort of book I would have picked up at the store myself, but I had a few hours' entertainment from it and thought it was a decent enough first novel.

Fed to jonathan's brain | August 02, 2004