A Matter of Time (1985)

The police has to solve a murder, but first they have to find out who the murdered person is, since nobody seems to know where the corpse has come from, as if it suddenly popped out of thin air. Three different storylines in three different times (past, present and future) show that solving the case is only a minor problem for the detective working on the case, since through his son who went missing in Vietnam he is more involved than he could first guess and the future that is about to come will be more than a little bit unpleasant. The question is, can the future be changed or is the outcome inevitable.

This is in some ways a book hard to judge. On one hand I think it this has some of the best written character interactions of Cook’s career, the detective and his wife, the Vietnam exiles they take in. He gets into the heads of these people and makes them real for the reader. On the other hand the threat of the story feels kinda dated and the book has poor pacing. The begin is too slow and the end is anticlimactic. This is one of the seldom cases where I think it would have been a good idea to ditch the SFnal content completely and write a straight murder mystery instead.