Editorial note: I received a copy of Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.
Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister is an entertaining twist on the Groundhog Day-type scenario.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a true thriller. Once Reese selected Wrong Place, Wrong Time for her August Book Club selection, I decided to check out the ARC version. And I liked it! But it took a while to get me hooked. This is one of those novels I thought I would read super quick but the slow start put me off a bit.
First, I do really like these Groundhog Day-type stories—this is typically where the protagonist relives the same day or time period over and over. The idea is that they’re supposed to discover something or even take some type of action in the past that will change their current present and future for good.
With Wrong Place, Wrong Time, a mother is trying to stop her teenage son from becoming a murderer. But so much more is going on—how did it get to that point? And why? What signs did she miss along the way?
What’s The Story About
We meet Jen, a lawyer, wife and mother. She has a happy life with her family until her eighteen-year-old son murders a man right outside their house.
It’s horrifying, shocking and Jen is in absolute disbelief that her sweet and kind teenage boy would murder someone like that. That night she goes to bed hoping it will be a bad dream, and it is—kind of.
She wakes up the day before the killing.
And then the day before that.
She quickly realizes she is traveling back to the past in order to change the present. But along the way, she discovers so much more and there is a bigger mystery she must uncover. Everything is connected but she has to figure just how it all relates.
The First Half
The premise is super engaging, right? However, the first half of the book is somewhat mundane. There are very few hints to begin with and it becomes a little dull. But then something happens, I won’t say what to avoid spoilers, and suddenly the novel takes a great turn.
But I am a bit bummed it took a while. And don’t get me wrong, I think this story turns out to be great. However, I do feel the first half could have been fleshed out a bit better.
I actually almost quit this one several times and I’m glad I didn’t. I do think it’s worth the read but just know it’s a slow start.
Jen gets to revisit everything from huge moments of life to the small ones that make up day-to-day living. It was especially interesting reading her interactions with her son and how much she missed either because she was working or distracted, what have you. I though the scenes with her son were especially poignant.
And in the present, her father has passed away but she gets to see him again in the past and those are engaging and heartfelt scenes as well.
Overall, Jen is a solid protagonist and I liked reading her journey to solve all the mysteries.
I keep these spoiler free so I’m not going to go much into the plot but again, I think this is an intriguing read. I like these kind of time travel-type stories and while I wish it was a bit more exciting in the beginning, the last half makes up for it. All in all a solid read.
For book clubs, check out my discussion questions here.