The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels. But writers are going to continue writing novels within a series even after I have done my review, so I plan on reviewing the individual novels as they come into circulation. Ian Hocking has just recently released his 2nd edition of book #2, Flashback, to the Saskia Brandt series.
I love puzzles. I like taking something that is totally chaotic, and then putting the pieces back, bit by bit, until the final picture emerges. I say this because Ian Hocking’s unique writing style reminds me a lot of putting together a puzzle. Hocking gradually relinquishes bits and pieces of information throughout Flashback, which on the surface may seem confusing, but as the ending begins to approach, the pieces finally fall into place. The subject matter of Flashback is time travel, which for a story topic can be challenging to read as well as to write, but Hocking does it with finesse in an almost poetic style.
Flashback begins with an investigation into the crash of a German airliner in the year 2003 which had transmitted an unusual message minutes before crashing which was identical to a message left by another airline crash that took place in the Andean Mountains 56 years prior. Investigators are lead to believe that a passenger by the name of Saskia Brandt may be central to the cause of the accident which leads them to Jem Shaw, an acquaintance of Brandt’s, who may have been the last person that interacted with her before the fateful flight. Shaw, who had only known Brandt for a short time, had come to the conclusion that something about Saskia was different. Shortly after the accident an unusual stranger, Richard Cory, enters into Jem’s life that leaves her with the sense that Saskia had survived the crash, and with that knowledge Jem believes that both she and Brandt are in imminent danger. It is up to her to find Saskia before Cory tracks her down.
Besides time travel, Flashback delves into the concept of technology interfacing with the human body and its consequences. Specifically, Hocking focuses on how technological enhancements has the potential to strip us of our individuality. Both Brandt and Cory struggle with the technology that has invaded their souls, each dealing with it on their own terms.
I found Flashback to be a pleasant read, but for those of you that are sequential readers, you may find difficulties in reading it. Because of this, I do strongly encourage reading the first in the series, Déjà Vu, as it gives a lot more background on some of the characters in Flashback as well has their circumstances which will make things less confusing.
To learn more about the series check out Ian Hocking’s Saskia Brandt series.