Book Nook: Why Wrong Place, Wrong Time Deserves All the Hype It’s Getting

Book Nook: Why Wrong Place, Wrong Time Deserves All the Hype It’s Getting
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Lovers of crime novels, do I have a recommendation for you. The August pick from Reese Witherspoon’s book club was Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister, and it is not an exaggeration to say this book took over my life for the past few weeks.

I was offered an opportunity to read Wrong Place, Wrong Time for review, and seeing as I’m a little bit obsessed with crime reads, I thought it would be worth putting my hand up for. I had no idea of the hold this book was about to have on me.

If you’re considering whether or not McAllister’s novel is for you, here is a quick (spoiler-free) rundown of my thoughts.

What is Wrong Place, Wrong Time about?

Gillian McAllister’s Wrong Place, Wrong Time is listed as a crime/thriller work, and it dances with the theories of time loops and hysterical strength; asking the reader to consider what could happen if the love and grief felt by a mother could warp time.

Looking at the Penguin website, Wrong Place, Wrong Time is given the following synopsis:

How do you stop a murder after it’s already happened? Find out the lengths one woman will go to save her family in Gillian McAllister’s first hardback publication.

It’s every parent’s nightmare.

Your happy, funny, innocent son commits a terrible crime: murdering a complete stranger.

You don’t know who. You don’t know why. You only know your teenage boy is in custody and his future lost.

That night you fall asleep in despair. Until you wake . . .

. . . and it is yesterday.

Every morning you wake up a day earlier, another day before the murder. Another chance to stop it.

Somewhere in the past lie the answers, and you don’t have a choice but to find them . . .

Captivating, right?

What to expect from this Reese Witherspoon book club pick

You know how there are those books that take a little while to grab you? Those reads that need a little mental adjusting before you can settle into it? Wrong Place, Wrong Time is nothing like that.

As soon as I opened this book, the words grabbed me by the shirt and pulled me straight into the story.

McAllister beautifully paints the picture of a small family living a fairly ‘normal’ life in suburban England. She introduces us to our leading lady Jen, her husband Kelly and their son Todd – all of whom appear to have a sweet enough dynamic. Then, within the first few pages of the book, the author rips all that apart with teenage Todd’s choice to murder a man in the middle of the street.

That one moment sends the book’s narrative into a backwards spiral, and you, the reader, find yourself following this family’s story in reverse.

As it tends to go with time loop stories, I found myself turning each page of this book in search of clues while reading Wrong Place, Wrong Time. I was desperate to figure out the mystery at the centre of the story before McAllister revealed it – but while I caught on to a few small hints, this book successfully kept me guessing right through to the end. In a genre that can sometimes feel overused (time jumps have been done to death now), I was pleasantly surprised to find I wasn’t able to pick apart the ending before McAllister allowed me to.

Reese Witherspoon wrote of this book that she felt it was “…such a thrilling read, I could not stop turning the pages and I couldn’t believe the final twist!”

I felt much the same. And thrilling is the right word, not because the book is a crime novel, but because the artful unravelling of this mystery was so damn exciting to follow.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time nicely blends a gripping crime story with themes of love, guilt and grief and shines a pretty powerful light on the value of being present during your current timeline, because it’s unlikely anyone’s getting a do-over… unless you find yourself in a backwards time loop, of course.

Wrong Place wrong time review
Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister RRP: $32.99, Penguin Michael Joseph

Pros: Nice pace (grabs your attention right away), strong character development and clever intertwining of multiple story elements.

Cons: Certain chapters will switch focus from Jen to another character – it’s effective but takes a minute to adjust to the new viewpoint.

Read it if you liked: Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

You can find Wrong Place, Wrong Time at the following retailers: Booktopia: $26.25 | Amazon: from $12.99QBD: $32.99


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