Colby Hodge
2008, Time Travel Romance
LoveSpell, $6.99, 308 pages, Amazon ASIN 0505527480

Grade: B+
Sensuality: Warm

Twist is a fast, exciting read, featuring one of the best and strongest heroines I've encountered in a long time.

Abbey has a busy, but lonely, life, with no real friends or relatives. As if that isn't enough, a serial killer is striking close to her home. But Abbey doesn't spend her time feeling sorry for herself; instead, she fills her days with martial arts classes, architecture school, running with her dog, and house rehabs.

Finally, Abbey's luck seems about to change. When she goes to the ER to be stitched up (did I mention Abbey routinely uses heavy tools?), her doctor turns out to be the gorgeous man she's eyed for weeks on the train. Even better, Shane has eyed Abbey in return and the two make plans to meet for a date. In the meantime, Abbey decides to investigate the funny whirring noise coming from behind a wall in her house. That turns out to be a big mistake when Abbey is whisked through a time portal and lands 100 years in the future.

This is a very scary future. Two-thirds of the human population is dead due to avian flu, while the alien Chronolotian, or tick, population has exploded in size. According to the author's mythology, vampire legend is based on ticks and people must band together in groups to fight them. Abbey quickly proves to be one of the best tick-fighters around.

The future is devoid of all modern conveniences, including electricity, cars, airplanes, and medicine. A big shock for Abbey, early on, is the discovery that there is no caffeine. Although it's a dark and scary place, Abbey makes friends and begins to question whether she wants to go back to her time. Shane is also present in the future. Without revealing any spoilers, let's just say that the Shane of the future is quite different from the Shane Abbey knew before.

I loved Abbey. She's a strong heroine, but has her girly moments when she's disgusted by the goo and gore that goes along with killing ticks. I was particularly touched by Abbey's relationship with her dog and the sorrow she felt over possibly never seeing him again. The book is told in first person from Abbey's point of view and, as a result, we are left with a vivid image of Abbey, but a slightly more remote view of the other characters.

The book is marred only slightly by a few minor problems. At times, in the future portion of the book, there were a few too many battles that went on a bit too long. And, though the ending seemed a bit rushed, it was, ultimately, very satisfactory.

This is a very clever book with some real surprises and I would love to see another book featuring Abbey and Shane. It's early in the reading year, but I now have strong contenders for best heroine, strongest heroine, and best time-travel/futuristic in AAR's next annual reader poll.

-- LinnieGayl Kimmel

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