Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Review: Buying Time by Roland Mann

Buying Time


If you had a chance to re-do part of your life, would you? Even if it meant dying earlier?

That’s the decision Tom Morgan and Larry Pace must make when they are approached by a time traveling time salesman. Complete opposites, both men are drawn to the idea for the same reason: to save someone’s life. But is that even possible? Can the past be changed? Add to that the problem that it’s very addictive, like a dangerous drug. Each trip back in time shortens life.

Here's a snippet of the plot, and my take on the book:
The lives of two men, Tom and Larry, become entangled through a tragic accident that takes Larry's wife and hospitalizes Tom's best friend, Mike.

Tom, a down-on-his-luck journalist, is in some ways responsible for the accident, and feels an overwhelming burden of guilt and an overpowering feeling of worthlessness. His fascination with Mr. Potter's hateful words spoken to George Bailey in Its a Wonderful Life, "You're worth more dead than alive", borders on mania, and is his mantra.

Larry is a devout Christian professor and newly published author, a father of two daughters who help him to struggle through the grieving process. Surrounded by Christian friends and a loving family, he is coping with his loss.

At the funeral, a stranger comes up to him and asks if he wouldn't like to spend more time with his wife. He offers to send Larry back in time and give him a chance to hold her again, and tell her goodbye. He leaves Larry with a business card and a generous helping of confusion.

This stranger is also the person Tom was headed to interview. Big Ben, as the stranger calls himself, offers to send Tom back in time as well. He warns that the time he takes in the past will be deducted from the end of his life, meaning that he will die sooner. 

Tom doesn't particularly care; he is teetering on the edge of suicide anyway. Tom goes back in time, attempting to change the past to keep the dreadful accident from occurring. But his efforts, though they change the past, do not circumvent the tragedy.

Later, Larry takes Big Ben up on his offer, going back to the past in an attempt to save his wife Gracie. But changing the past is like turning a battleship with a rowboat; the tragic day plays out similarly, with only small things altered.

The book picks up pace as Tom and Larry meet, and attempt to go back in time together in a concerted effort to keep the accident from happening and save Larry's wife.

From the time the two men meet right up to the end of the book, it was a page-turner I couldn't put down. 

Liberally salted with sincere Christian characters, the book is an honest look at death, the power of prayer, and God's sovereignty over our appointed times. 

Almost none, only a tragic accident and its ramifications, repeated over and over.

Language: None.

Sexual Content: 
Nothing to report, only husband and wife wake up in bed together. 

Spiritual Content:
Right and wrong are pretty clearly defined, depression and God's grace are discussed. Providence, God's sovereignty and letting go are covered well.

All in all, I gave it 4 out of 5.

About the Author:
Roland MannRoland Mann is a writer, editor, speaker, and professor. As writer, he is best known for his work on Cat & Mouse, a comic which ran for nearly two years, garnered critical acclaim and led Roland to other work. Other titles Roland wrote include Rocket Ranger, Miss Fury, Planet of the Apes: Blood of the Apes, Krey and Demon's Tails. As editor, Roland is best known for his time as a Malibu/Marvel Comics editor where he edited The Protectors line of comics and many Ultraverse titles. Roland also served as Editor and Publisher of Silverline, a line of independent comics that included such titles as Switchblade and The Scary Book. 

Roland earned an MFA in Writing from Spalding University, a MA in English from the University of North Alabama, and a BS in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Mississippi.

In addition to his work in comics, Roland has been a newspaper editor and an advertising flunky, but more recently he has taught English at the university level. He is also a frequent speaker at writing workshops/conferences where many find his sessions encouraging. Roland's first novel, Buying Time, was published in 2010 as were his graphic novel adaptations of the classic novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Roland currently teaches Creative Writing at Full Sail University and lives in Oxford, Mississippi with his wife BJ, daughter Brittany, and son Brett, where he is busy working on his next project. Updated information can be found on his website www.rolandmann.me where he also occasionally blogs.

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