Ballantine Books, 2005
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
Fifteen-year-old Knox Davis was present on January 1, 1985 when Pekesville, Kentucky buried a time capsule by the flagpole in front of the old red brick courthouse. He watched as they placed thirteen items inside the capsule to be opened in the next century. Now, twenty years later, vandals have stolen the time capsule right out from under their noses while the new security cameras on the courthouse were rolling. Knox, now chief investigator for Peke County, is intrigued by how the vandals got away with it since the cameras only show a flash of light. In the sleepy little town of Pekesville they don't have much big city crime and this is just the kind of mystery he enjoys solving. As he begins investigating the theft, several more unusual crimes take place in the county. The highest priority involves Taylor Allen, a local attorney, who is found murdered in his living room with a spear in his back.
Nikita Stover is an FBI agent from the future. She has traveled back in time to catch a criminal and her hunt has led her to the crime scene at Taylor Allen's home. When Knox Davis finds Nikita trying to enter his crime scene without authorization he is immediately suspicious. Nikita introduces herself as an FBI agent, producing the proper identification. While Knox is examining her ID, a sniper fires on them from nearby. Knox can be like a bloodhound on a scent and something doesn't smell right to him. Soon he has Nikita in his office and is ready to lock her up for impersonating an FBI agent when she comes clean. She tells him she's from the future and she has the futuristic gadgets to prove it. Knox doesn't know how or why she came up with her impressive toys but he's so intrigued with her tale he's willing to give her a chance so he can learn more.
Nikita Stover and Knox Davis are both dedicated professionals. When Nikita asks Knox to help her capture her suspect, they join forces. The investigation grows more complicated with the involvement of a criminal from the future hiding among the citizens of Pekesville. During the race to discover the killer, Knox and Nikita develop a mutual attraction. Their personal feelings for each other grow, but Nikita knows it can only end in heartbreak as she is forbidden by law to remain in 2005.
KILLING TIME is an entertaining romantic mystery with a twist. I found the futuristic element truly enjoyable and original. Linda Howard boldly tackles this storyline with her own brand of humor and suspense. She shows off her range and versatility in this tale. Knox Davis is a departure from the usual alpha male heroes Howard writes -- he is more of a laid back country boy with a sharp analytical mind. Nikita Stover is a tightly controlled woman out of her element. Falling in love throws her even more off balance and it is fun to watch. One weakness in the story is the mystery man and his motivations -- the plot twists were a bit confusing at times. SON OF THE MORNING is the title of Howard's previous time-travel release. It is one of my all time favorites. KILLING TIME is not nearly as powerful a story as SON OF THE MORNING, but it is still an absolutely captivating read.
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