The Tourist by Robert Dickinson
Quite simply, I just didn’t get this book. As you will see in other Amazon reviews, the things in the book are interesting--two intersecting plot lines, one in first person and one in second; a time travel “mystery”; a current 21st century society struggling to deal with the impact travelers from the 25th century future have on their lives.

However, it all never comes together to create a complete, coherent picture. There were times when the plot events wandered enticingly close and I felt clarity closing in and thought perhaps the action was preparing to take off...but it didn’t. I kept thinking about trying to plot this novel out on a gigantic sheet of paper, yet I felt it’d still be difficult to make sense of it and see how the story was being told. The main reason it’s so complicated is there are future and current and maybe even past versions of the same characters interacting with themselves throughout various points of time. Leaving the surrounding cast of people--and us readers--trying to understand it all.

I realize time travel writing requires the reader to let a few things slide since obviously nobody knows how it could really happen. Therefore I appreciate some of the intriguing theory points the writer put forth in his concept of time travel. Specifically I thought it was cool how he emphasized “fixed point” time travel is the safest and most efficient, meaning that if you travel between exact predetermined places and times, through a standard tunnel (so to speak), then that’s the best way to do it. If you want to go further back in time or to a non-standard place or time, it’s much more difficult and dangerous. Some of the parts like these where Mr. Dickinson sort of explained his novel’s time travel “rules” were the most enjoyable for me.

The problem is, unless you are writing a massively epic book, you have to skim through your theories and stick to your characters and plot action. Unfortunately, in this case, the theory skimming was too brief and vague, I could not connect with any of the characters, and I was left feeling overly confused about the plot. As I wrote at the top, I saw small enjoyable moments where the story almost broke through to something I could engage with, but overall I simply didn’t get it and I unfortunately can’t recommend this novel.

Lastly, I feel it’s important to note this isn’t necessarily a dominantly mystery, thriller, conspiracy-type novel. Those elements are there, but they take a backseat to the time travel and sci-fi components. I think readers will mostly be trying to follow the convoluted plot lines and unable to really focus on unravelling any mystery.

(I received an advanced reading copy of this novel by replying to an email from the publisher. I have provided an honest review.)