A Summer Out of Time


Shadowy Woman and Man on Summer ExcerptToby laid the flashlight on the desktop, closed the binder, moved it back where he’d found it and started to rise. But as he reached to retrieve the light, he found it covered—by someone else’s hand.

As he turned, another hand buried itself in his hair and jerked his head across the high back of the chair, forcing his butt back into the seat. Then there was a sharp sting at his windpipe and he twisted his gaze to find a long knife blade stretched from his throat to the grasp of an angry-looking man not much older than he.

“Well! Look what we have here! The McClain’s mystery boy! Have you found out who you are yet, Mystery Boy?” The assailant leaned close and pressed the knife tighter.

Toby’s right hand was trapped between him and his foe, but he could still use his left. He grasped the butt and trigger of the pistol jutting from his belt. Pulling the weapon out would get his throat slit, so he pushed the handle inward toward his stomach, forcing the muzzle in the opposite direction.

“The girl is very pretty, Mystery Boy. Are you screwing her? You can tell me. Is it fun to wrap your hands around that nice big ass? Does she give a good blow job?”

After pressing the gun inward as far as it would go, Toby could only hope the barrel was pointing cleanly away from his own body. He eased his thumb up over the hammer of the single-action weapon, gently cocked it and pulled the trigger.

The intensity of the explosion that followed momentarily paralyzed the man holding the knife and Toby was able to push him away with a single thrust of his arms and legs. Almost in that same motion, he withdrew the pistol from his belt, pulled the hammer back once more and pointed the ancient weapon directly between the eyes of his adversary.

Neither man had been wounded by the first shot.

The only illumination in the room came from the flashlight lying on the desk. The two men faced each other in silence, one dressed in a black jacket and blue jeans and pointing a foot-long revolver at one wearing a T-shirt and khakis and holding a fourteen-inch knife. Toby’s breathing was shallow, his mouth dry; he wasn’t certain he could speak even if he did think of something to say. He reached over, picked up the flashlight and shone the beam fully on his adversary.

“You wouldn’t kill me, would you, Mystery Boy?”

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Professional Review

A Summer Out of Time

Author Larry Long’s latest novel, A Summer Out of Time, is a story about the fragility of family plus the possibility of time travel with an unexpected historical slant. The author pursues a myriad of social issues in this suspense infused thriller, offering readers a balance of action and drama.

When Cathy McClain finds eighteen-year-old Toby sleeping in a hammock on the family’s porch, she initially believes the handsome young man has amnesia because he isn’t able to tell her much about his background and seems shocked to learn that it is July 2012. Unfortunately for the town of Blue River, Nebraska, soon after Toby’s sudden appearance at the McClain home, several violent crimes are committed in the area. Toby becomes a suspect and Cathy and her parents rally to protect the young stranger from the suspicions of the local authorities.

After a picture of Toby runs in the local paper, an elderly resident of Blue River identifies the young man. When Toby meets with the man, he takes the opportunity to reveal that he does actually know his identity and that he has somehow been propelled from the year 1946 to 2012. As Toby and the McClain family pull together information about the crimes in Blue River, Toby discovers that he knows who the perpetrators are.

The author threads themes of family dysfunction and cultural variances throughout this story as it takes unexpected dips into sinister criminal acts then elevates to the sensual adventures of young love. Long offers a good deal of background information on the McClain family’s troubled past, which helps the reader understand why the family is so keen on helping Toby. And while the reader is given insight on the history of the protagonist, there seems to be a bit of an imbalance in the substance of information the author provides about Toby in comparison to the McClains. Since Long has already authored one series of books (“The Kurt McBride Mysteries”) perhaps the limited revelations about Toby’s background and the unexpected ending of this book means readers will soon see more of the character’s story in future installments.

“A Summer Out of Time” is a well formed, crafty thriller that offers readers a challenging plot with graphic detail and multi-dimensional characters. Mystery and suspense fans will enjoy this book.

Melissa Brown Levine
for Independent Professional Book Reviewers