Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 90-95,000 words
Kindle US: YES UK: YES Nook: YES Smashwords: YES Paper: YES
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C.J. West writes thrillers. His first book, Sin and Vengeance, the first of the Randy Black series, was optioned for film and is currently in development. West has two other books in this series. In addition to The End of Marking Time, West has another standalone novel, Taking Stock. An avid poker player and “recovered golf addict,” West lives with his family in Massachusetts. For more, visit his website.
Michael O’Connor is good at what he does. What he does is steal. But the cliché about a criminal only having to make one mistake is true. Convicted and on his way to prison, another inmate attempts an escape. O’Connor receives serious injuries, which put him into a coma. When he awakens years later, O’Connor discovers that the world has changed.
The End of Marking Time is a thriller, but a different kind of thriller. Although it might be set in the future, it could also be an alternate reality. Nothing in the technology or setting seemed beyond the reach of what is possible today, or at least what might be shortly. The only significant thing that had changed was our approach to “rehabilitating” criminals.
The premise the book is built on is that while the protagonist, convicted criminal Michael O’Connor, was in a coma, the U.S. Supreme court made a ruling that long term incarceration constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. When Michael awakens from his coma, he is under the care of a replacement criminal justice system. I found myself rooting for Michael, a character that on the surface seems like he should be the bad guy. Michael’s struggle to understand expectations under the new system and the discovery that not everyone wants him to succeed provides the needed conflict. The new system and imagining how someone would react to such an extreme change was thought provoking. I found The End of Marking Time gave me everything I look for in a thriller, but with a storyline much different than the norm.
No significant issues
Rating: **** Four stars