Review for Flashback by Ian Hocking

Flashback

My Rating: 3.5/5

Author:  Ian Hocking
Title: Flashback (The Saskia Brandt Series Book Two)

Genre:  Technothriller

Background: “In 1947 a Santiago-bound plane crashes into the Andes minutes after confirming its landing time.
In 2003 a passenger plane nosedives into the Bavarian National Forest during a routine flight.
Although separated by more than 50 years, these tragedies are linked by seven letters:
S, T, E, N, D, E, C.
On board Flight DFU323 in 2003 is Saskia Brandt – a woman who holds the answers to the many puzzles of the two flights and who knows she must survive in order to prevent a catastrophic chain of events stretching well into the future.
But Saskia is not the only one to know this. She is being followed and her life is in danger – inside and outside of the plane.
Filled with twists and turns as it trips skilfully through time, Flashback is a gripping technothriller that reaches more than fifty years into our past – and one hundred years into our future – to solve the enigmas of the doomed Star Dust and Flight DFU323.
But is it enough to solve the enigma that is Saskia Brandt?”

Opinions:

Flashback is the second book in the Saskia Brandt series. I have read the first book, Déjà Vu—which you can see my review here—so I’m not sure how Flashback would be for someone who has not read the prior book. [I believe the reader should be able to read this book without reading the first one.] Flashback focused on two mysterious plane crashes (one true to history and the other fictionalized for the book.) It’s a technothriller mystery as the reader tries to piece together what happened during the crashes.

Characters:
Although Saskia is a focal point in much of the novel, her third person narrative is much less than the first book, mainly because she was on the plane that crashed. The third person narratives are mostly through Jem and Cory. Jem is a British girl who is trying to figure out Saskia and her successful gambling tactics. She is a complex character with a shady past and hardcore personality. Cory is another time traveler who is involved with both crashes. How? Well, I’ll let you read about that. He, too, has a complex personality and struggles with the burden of his mission.

Plot:
The plot jumps between 2003 and flashbacks to 1947. I struggled at points trying to keep everything in order (time-wise), especially at the beginning of the novel. For example, the first few chapters on Saskia and Jem go backwards in time. I would have preferred a regular timeline with less details building up to more (a character recalling something that was left out before) if information needed to be withheld. By the end of the book, everything makes sense in what has happened. The reader pieces together how and why the plane crashes took place and who (if any) survived.

The Bottom Line:
A few small things that the reader might have trouble with when reading this book: there are a few conversations completely in a different language with minimal translations, a few instances where the character is talking and thinking simultaneously, and the timeline of the plot (see above). Other than that, if you like techno-thriller with a mystery and some action, you should like this book. I do recommend reading Déjà Vu first. Despite being busy, I was able to read this book over the weekend. I think I liked Déjà Vu better than this book, but I’m still interested to see what happens to Saskia in the third book – The Amber Rooms.

 

Review for Déjà Vu by Ian Hocking

deja vu

My Rating: 4/5

Author: Ian Hocking
Title:
Déjà Vu

Genre: Technothriller
Themes:
Control of self and future/past

Background:
“It is 2023. Scientist David Proctor is running for his life. On his trail is Saskia Brandt, a detective with the European FIB. She has questions. Questions about a bomb that exploded back in 2003. But someone is hunting her too. The clues are in the shattered memories of her previous life.

Déjà Vu takes the reader on a startling journey through a possible future, though digital minds, and through the consequences of the choices we make. It is the debut novel by Ian Hocking.”

This is a fast-pace action book set in the near future of 2023 (with some flashbacks to 2003). It puts me in mind of something like the movie Salt – but without the assassination plotline.

Opinions:

Characters: The book is written in third person and mostly follows Saskia Brandt. Saskia is a strong character and one that I liked. Her life is basically turned upside as she is sent on an assignment to hunt down David. David Proctor, the other character the book follows, is on the run. Both characters have good dimensions in the story. The reader learns about the characters in more depth as the story progresses, including flaws and motives.

Plot: The plot is fast-paced with high-technology for the future. There are twists and turns, and it would be interesting to see what I missed upon rereading it. The story and ending is very detailed in linking everything together. The book ends nicely and leaves the reader wanting to find out what will happen. Without giving any spoilers away, I was shocked by the first chapter. I remember thinking in chapter two, “Okay, so it’s going to be that type of story” (meaning lots of action, mystery, suspense, and a few surprises.) Although the reader may guess the direction of where the story might go, he/she is not really sure of the details and reasons until he/she gets there.

The Bottom Line: Flaws for the novel? Well, considering 2023 is only ten years away, I think the technology was a little too advanced to be realistic, but hey, this is a science fiction novel, right? Also, sometimes the explanations with the technology could be confusing with all the letters/abbreviations/numbers involved. However, it was not very distracting, and I did not dwell too hard on it.

Overall, I liked this book. I saw this book on Amazon for free, and I then won Flashback (2nd book) and The Amber Rooms (3rd book). I’m glad I started it and can’t wait to see what happens in the next one!