Friday, December 16, 2011

The End of Marking Time, by C.J. West

Michael is a highly skilled man. Skilled at burglary and various crimes. But, eventually, the law catches up with him, all while he lie sleeping. He wakes from a coma to learn that the justice system has completely changed, and his life will never be the same. Their are steps Michael must complete in order to completely re-enter society, and he has a difficult time following the rules. Will he be able to change in time to save his own life?

I found the premise of this book fascinating, and not all that difficult to imagine. I think that a scenario like this, involving a total rehaul of the penal system, is entirely plausible. In Michael, we see a character who really has to go through a rebirth of sorts. Not only has everything changed, but to him (having been in a coma) the change seems as if overnight. While everyone else has had time to adjust, Michael is in do or die mode, and it makes for an interesting internal conflict.

There is not a lot of external action in the book, a few conflicts between Michael and other characters. The story more focuses on that internal conflict, so the book has a much more pensive feel than readers might anticipate. I also think that the potentially prophetic nature of the book can make readers a bit squirmy. However, it will appeal to fans of dystopian fiction, and crime fiction, as it artfully blends the two genres.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author.

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