Today I’m reviewing One Way, an audiobook/podcast novel by Jeff Lane. You can go to his site here or follow him on Twitter at WriterJeffLane. This book falls into the thriller/sci fi genre, though more the former and less the latter. It deals with time travel but in a way that’s, to my mind, more fantasy than SF.
Synopsis: Barry Griffith doesn’t know it yet, but tonight is the night fate has chosen to be the night of his death… his murder.
At a gas station in the middle of nowhere, late at night, his wife Jenny appears… no car… no coat and looking older than when he saw her last. That’s because this is not the woman he received a good-bye kiss from this morning. This woman has been a widow for over four years and has made an impossible journey back in time to try to stop her husband’s murder.
Will they be able to escape the killers or does fate only have one plan… one possible outcome… ONE WAY?
Production: I listened to most of this over my car stereo (as I’m doing increasingly these days, but it was also in the ear buds. In both cases the audio is clean. I don’t recall any repeats. He uses music that’s appropriate to set mood. Occasionally the volume of the music is much louder than the spoken parts. That made me have to fiddle with volume a bit.
Cast: Jeff did this as what I think I’ll call a dramatized read. Each character got their own voice, but it was all done by Jeff. Overall he did a good job, though he did an Indian accent that was a little too stereotypical.
Story: There’s a lot of jumping around in this. The story is told from multiple points of view, which for some can be off putting (and not just two or three POV characters). It’s also takes place in multiple timelines. The chapters more or less alternate between Barry in the “now” and Jenny in his future as she prepares to make the trip back in time. That jarred me a little at first, but as both timelines built to their climax, I kinda dug it. As we approached the end, there was one other thing that w rankled me a little. It suffers from the LOTR ending. Jeff ties up every single last loose end. This results in the end chapters being a little choppy and the overall feeling that it drug on. He also plays hard on the “is he dead YET?!?!” thing that you see in more than one slasher flick.
So was it any good? Yes. These few problems aside (and YMMV as to how problematic those problems are), this was a solid story, well told. I do like his vision of time travel, it being a more natural phenomenon. The most fun he has is with the “can you change the past?” question. I won’t give away his answer, but it left me satisfied.
Verdict: I believe this is Jeff’s first podcast novel. He’s got two more: This Paper World and Crush Depth. I’ll be checking them out in that order. One Way and Crush Depth are available at Podiobooks. I didn’t stray from it once I started listening, though other podcasts beckoned. Well worth checking out.