Out of Time


Fiction - Thriller - Psychological
274 Pages
Reviewed on 05/31/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Out of Time is a work of fiction in the thriller and psychological sub-genres, and was penned by author Ben Armstrong. Written for adult audiences due to the presence of some graphic content and the use of explicit language, this engaging novel follows protagonist Daniel Williams through his psychological struggles. Haunted by the same recurring dream, set in 1965, since he was ten years old, Daniel lives his contemporary life in a state of uncertainty, never knowing what is real. What results is an intense adventure that weaves speculative elements into realistic settings to make us, like Daniel, question what is truly real as we read on.

Author Ben Armstrong has crafted a superbly intelligent work, one that blends fantasy and time travel elements into a realistic psychological thriller format exceedingly well. One of the things which impressed me most was the author’s commitment to the full exploration of Daniel’s psyche, which makes for a plot that varies between interesting bursts of magical realism and tight psychological reactions which are highly emotive. The narrative work is strong, making us feel that Armstrong is an author we can trust no matter where the plot twists, and it leaves plenty of room for the reader to question the mystery and make their own predictions at the end of every chapter. This makes for an engaging read from cover to cover and, as such, I would highly recommend Out of Time for readers of realistic speculative fiction and fans of deep psychological thrillers alike.

Jack Magnus

Out of Time is a psychological thriller novel written by Ben Armstrong. Dan Williams' tenth birthday was on Friday. His parents had suggested he invite his friend, Jake McMiller, over to celebrate with him. They’d play Pro Skater, snack on pizza and eat birthday cake. But strange things would start happening to Dan before that. First, it was the dreams where he saw himself walking down streets he knew -- and yet they were different -- like he was seeing them from another time. And the headaches. Dan had never experienced headaches like these before. Patricia, his mom and an RN, finally arranged for Dr. Hodgin to see what he could do for Dan. They left with a prescription after the doctor put Dan through some tests to rule out conditions. Dr. Hodgin was terrifying; Dan could feel his blood freezing from the moment he walked into the room. His mom didn’t seem to notice. Dan was impressed that the doctor was able to get rid of the headache for him but the relief was only temporary, and Dan’s hitherto untroubled existence was a thing of the past.

Ben Armstrong’s Out of Time is a fast-paced and chilling story of a young boy who’s thrust into something dark, sinister, and way out of his understanding. As I read this compelling story that blends science fiction, time travel, and adventure, I couldn’t help but begin to see Dan Williams as a boy-sized Schrodinger's Cat, his condition and appearance conditioned by forces out of his control. The time he spends in an institution after he is diagnosed as schizophrenic is particularly moving and difficult, and his growing relationship with the young girl he meets from the past provides the lightness and positivity needed to counterbalance all the darkness. Armstrong’s characters are fully-fleshed and real, and his plot is unsettling and thought-provoking. Out of Time is well-written and absorbing, and it’s highly recommended.

Jessica Kaas

Very enjoyable book. I cannot wait to read the 2nd.