Tim Downs is the author of the Bugman series of novels. Nick Polchak is the bugman here - a forensic entomologist who specializes in crime-scene bugs. In 'Nick of Time', Nick will be married soon but is unsure of whether he wants to be married at all. He runs off days before his marriage to solve a crime, leading his fiance Alene to question his commitment to the marriage. Nick and Alene are birds of a feather - social misfits, persistent and stubborn, and good in their chosen professions. The story goes on in the manner of any thriller, with every page the possibility of a doublecross increases. However anyone who has read a lot of thrillers will be surprised at the ending. There is a crime thats solved ofcourse, but it is overshadowed by the set-up. An average book that will help you while away your time.
This was the first time I have read a Bugman novel. This was also my first free book from BookSneeze. I had been careful to not have huge expectations from it. There seems to be such a glut of worthless thrillers in the market that I am really scared to go out and buy one. Nick of Time does not fall in the class of "Obnoxious and showy, bad thriller" certainly, but it does not stand out on its own either. The first chapter has Nick and Alene visitng a wedding planner. The situation seems forced. The author wants to convey in an interesting manner that his hero and heroine are getting married. The subsequent build up of the characters is in absolute conflict with this first chapter.
The second irritant was the forced dialogue - both Nick and Alene seem to have sharp swords instead of tongues - they dont just answer normally. Every reply has to be smart-ass, sarcastic or plain sword edged. One enjoys the conversation initially, but then the unvarying tone tends to bore.
The third negative is the fizzled out ending. Every chapter builds up to a finale that turns out to be lame.
But all in all, I dint curse as much as I did when I read the 'The Malice Box'!!
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
My husband doesn't like me reading Bug Man novels, because I have a tendency to laugh at the outlandish things Nick Polchak says, in much the same way as I laugh at Sheldon or Raj off The Big Bang Theory on TV. Nick is a combination of the two characters in that he is extremely intelligent, has a rare and complex professional specialty, and doesn't relate to people well, especially not to women (how else do you explain the ending of the last book, Ends of the Earth, where Nick managed to propose to two women at once?).
Nick is a forensic entomologist, which means he studies the insects that are attracted to human remains, and uses this to determine when (and sometimes where) the victim died. It is best not to read the BugMan novels while eating. They feature a lot of dead bodies and even more bugs. Anyway, Nick is now happily engaged to Alene Savard, a reclusive a dog trainer he met when he needed a cadaver dog to find a dead body, and they are getting married in a week. Alene is a brilliant dog trainer but is as socially incompetent as Nick, in her own special way.
The Vidocq Society is a dream team of forensic specialists dedicated to solving murders no one else can, and Nick is proud to have been invited to join. He attends a Society meeting a few days before the wedding at the express request of trusted friend and colleague, Pete Boudreau (and against Alene's wishes), but Pete is strangely absent, which sends Nick off on his trail. His single-mindedness means he forgets to call Alene when he promises, so she gets worried and follows him to the Pocono's, where there is a mystery waiting to be solved - but as circumstances keep them apart, can they solve the mystery before one of them becomes the next victim?
I don't always enjoy books by male authors, as they can focus too much on story to the detriment of the relationships. But Tim Downs and the BugMan novels are an exception. Nick has deep-seated issues regarding human relationships, to the point where he often speaks of humans as being a distinct species that he is not a member of. Alene has issues as well, and Tim Downs does an excellent job of showing the development in these two flawed characters, while maintaining enough humour to overshadow some of the gore in the content. This is another well-crafted mystery from an author that I always look forward to reading. An excellent novel.
Thanks to Thomas Nelson and BloggingforBooks for providing a free ebook for review.
Yes, I am completely biased and I only feel that I should I put that out there before I tell you what I think of this book. I love Tim Downs' books and always find myself completely surprised when reading his books. I love the Bug Man himself, Nick. But more than that just when you think you know him and he won't surprise, you find out something new about him. There are only a couple of Bug Man novels I haven't gotten to, and they are sitting on my shelf waiting on my review list to shrink.
But being completely biased, I am not sure if I can truly capture my enthusiasm for this book completely, I am not sure if I can complete convey how fantastically happy this book made me. It took me a minute to get to this book, but when I started I couldn't put it down. I don't think it's even possible to get enough of Nick and his adventures. No matter what they have in common (they always deal with solving some kind of crime) there's always enough new and good stuff, that you can't possible get tired of the Bug Man.
I am not a bug person, I don't like them and to be honest when I see them I am more likely to kill them. But it is grossly fascinating how much information can be gathered from the simple presence (or absence) of a particular species of insects.
This story has it all. A woman who go to the ends of the earth to find out the truth from the man that she loves and even willing to face the fact that he may have changed his mind about the wedding and her. One man who will risk it all for the sake of helping an old friend solve a long forgotten cold case. A best friend who will go to great lengths to show a soon-to-be groom the truth he's running. Action and mystery to keep you engaged and turning the pages. Finally, an end that you never saw coming.
"now listen," Alena said, "I've seen you pick maggots off a two week old corpse without even turning up your nose"
With a statement like that in the first sentence I couldn't help but be hooked on this book.
A chuckle a minute from the first page, Tims Downs novel draws you in from the off and keeps you there, engrossed and second duessing what's unfolding before your eyes.
This was my first novel by Tim Downs and based on this read I would definitely be interested in reading more of his work.
Nick of time is a pretty fast paced piece of fiction based on the rather far fetched lives of Nick & Alena.
Days before they are due to marry Nick, the 'bug man' -a forensic entomologist- is called away for a meeting with fellow experts in the bug and / or death field. Whilst away a situation arises that means Nick cannot return home and risks missing his own wedding.
On Nicks dissappearence Alena takes her best tracking dogs and sets off to locate him but what she finds is not exactly what she bargained for and is in no way predictable to the reader.
Overall I found this an enjoyable read however I do have a few caveats about certain aspects of the storyline - Nicks sense of humour,for one,(or lack of it) is funny to begin with but rapidly becomes unrealistic and a tad annoying.
Also alena's seemingly ninja trained canines had me rolling my eyes and thinking "oh come on!" more than once.
Get past those foibles though and the story is great and once I had got over the shock of the ending as it unravelled I thought it was a genius idea. It was unpredictable (so don't even try) and a change from most other novels.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÂ®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.