Book Review: A Time & Shadows Mystery Series

Book Cover from Amazon

The Day Before: Time & Shadows Mystery (Book 1) by Liana Brooks
Convergence Point: A Time & Shadows Mystery (Book 2) by Liana Brooks
Decoherence: A Time & Shadows Mystery (Book 3) by Liana Brooks


Any long-term readers of my blog know one of my favorite authors is Liana Brooks. I read everything she writes, I attend book launches long-distance, I stalk … um … follow her on Facebook. Why does she have to be a West Coast writer – forever 3,000 miles away? I adore her writing so much I’ll even read a series on time travel if she writes it, my least favorite sci-fi variation. And, you know what?, I loved it. She actually came up with a mechanism I liked – giving agency to the characters.

That is my normal problem with time travel.

Option A: You can’t change time. Characters have no agency; when they go back in time, they get blocked at every turn trying to make changes. The only option available is an emotional journey and I’m not into soul-searching for it’s own sake after the first version of this time travel option. I get it – the character goes from angry, to frustrated, to acceptance, and returns home a changed person. Great the first read, not the fortieth.

Option B: You can change time, but then you can’t return to your original point because your future timeline has disconnected because of your actions. The character becomes lost in the sea of infinite timelines, a Dutchman never again making home port. In this option the characters appears to agency, but they don’t. Because, really, that previous timeline the character wanted change is still out there, moving forward without them. Sure they have created a “happy” timeline, but it doesn’t erase the other line.

Ms. Brook twisted the option B with a dash of energy-wave-cycle science, crashing together a theory where agency exists for characters between the cycles. And she mashed it up with a murder mystery and political thriller.

Did I mention she is one of my favorite authors?

See the book blurbs and my individual book reviews below.

Book Cover from Amazon

The Day Before: Time & Shadows Mystery (Book 2) by Liana Brooks


A body is found in the Alabama wilderness. The question is:

Is it a human corpse … or is it just a piece of discarded property?

Agent Samantha Rose has been exiled to a backwater assignment for the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, a death knell for her career. But then Sam catches a break—a murder—that could give her the boost she needs to get her life back on track. There’s a snag, though: the body is a clone, and technically that means it’s not a homicide. And yet, something about the body raises questions, not only for her, but for coroner Linsey Mackenzie.

The more they dig, the more they realize nothing about this case is what it seems … and for Sam, nothing about Mac is what it seems, either.

This case might be the way out for her, but that way could be in a bodybag.

A thrilling new mystery from Liana Brooks, The Day Before will have you looking over your shoulder and questioning what it means to be human.



Wow, I knew Ms. Brooks could write – her superhero romance is fantastic – but wow.

A police procedural with sci-fi time-travel mix. The procedural is set in the near future – about 50 years from now. 25-ish years ago half of humanity was lost to a plague and the survivors joined nations and moved forward, so Samantha, the main character, works for the North American government. Ms. Brooks has done an excellent job of creating a new culture from the fallout, plus a pretty interesting scientific possibility for time travel.

I highly recommend reading the chapter teasers. The stuff at the start of chapters 8, 13, and 23 give the motivation for Iteration 1 and lays the groundwork for the series.

Full Disclosure: Received free from author as part of an on-line book launch. No mention of review in the transaction. Attended launch because loved her other books.


Book Cover from Amazon

Convergence Point: A Time & Shadows Mystery (Book 1) by Liana Brooks


Agent Samantha Rose has already died once…and knows the exact date she’ll die again.

Having taken down a terrorist organization bent on traveling through time to overthrow the government, Sam figured she was done dealing with the unbelievable. Finally out of backwater Alabama, she’s the senior agent in a Florida district, and her life is back on track.

Until a scientist is found dead. And then an eco-terrorist. And then a clone of herself…again.

As the pieces start to fall together, they paint a picture that seems to defy everything they know about time and physics. But the bodies are all too real, and by partnering up with Agent MacKenzie once more, they might just figure out what’s going on. And when.



Is it possible for Convergence Point to be even better than The Day Before of the Time and Shadows series? Yes, I believe it is.

First off, we get a little more romance this time. Not center stage, but nicely worked into the story. Second the mystery-procedural investigation and as much legwork and slow reveal as the last time. The on-edge feeling continues throughout the book of who may die next. Police officers call in, warrants are retrieved – you really feel like these are officers doing their jobs. Too many books have officers breaking the law to bring criminals in – this one makes you feel that these are real officers who really believe, obey, and enforce the law.

I do dislike how men still treat women poorly – I had hoped 50 years in the future to see better of humanity. But after a plague wipes out half the population and women become breeding machines in some areas of the planet, I expect some backsliding would occur from our “enlightened times”.

I should note there were a couple places where characters seemed to act out of character. Not always sure the change was because of an Iteration crossing over.

But the reason why this is amazing is the worldbuilding. As my other reviews indicate, I LOVE good worldbuilding. Ms. Brooks brings to the table several layers to the clone world – including Sam having to deal with other Iteration versions of herself dying in this one. The initial fallout from the Yellow Plague – both the crumbling of nations and the rebuilding. And, of course, time travel.

Ms. Brooks, with the Time and Shadows, has come up with a comprise to time travel which returns agency to the time-travel stories, plus gives one of the best motivations for murder I have ever seen. What would you do, who would you kill, to keep your reality alive instead of collapsing into a dream? For creating a viable, to me at least, time-travel-multiverse thread I have to give Ms. Brooks five stars!


Book Cover from Amazon

Decoherence: A Time & Shadows Mystery (Book 3) by Liana Brooks


Samantha Rose and Linsey MacKenzie have established an idyllic life of married bliss in Australia, away from the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, away from mysterious corpses, and—most of all—away from Dr. Emir’s multiverse machine.

But Sam is a detective at heart, and even on the other side of the world, she can’t help wonder if a series of unsolved killings she reads about are related—not just to each other, but to the only unsolved case of her short career.

She knows Jane Doe’s true name, but Sam never discovered who killed the woman found in an empty Alabama field in spring of 2069. She doesn’t even know which version of herself she buried under a plain headstone.

When Mac suddenly disappears, Sam realizes she is going to once more be caught up in a silent war she still doesn’t fully understand. Every step she takes to save Mac puts the world she knows at risk, and moves her one step closer to becoming the girl in the grave.



I want to sit down and create a timeline … line?, woven cloth matrix folded in parts, wibbly-wobbly time knot … anyway, I would like to try to create a iteration and people tracking tool to follow this story through the three books of the series. I am totally going to do this sometime – likely in three or four years. If I come back to books (and I will with this series), it usually takes me around half a decade.

This is not a stand-alone book. Read books one and two before reading book three.

The third of the series science fiction world-building isn’t as strong as the first two, which isn’t surprising since by this time the world has been defined. The romance established in the second book has been solidified by the third. The police procedural isn’t quite as clear cut to follow as the first two books as the world(s) spiral toward decoherence. 

So the story didn’t knock my socks off as much as the first two – on the other hand, I still can’t find my shoes.