The Time Traveler Professor

Author: Elizabeth Crowens | Publisher: Atomic Alchemist Productions LLC

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is obsessed with a legendary red book. Its peculiar stories have come to life, and rumors claim that it has rewritten its own endings. Convinced that possessing this book will help him write his ever-popular Sherlock Holmes stories, he takes on an unlikely partner, John Patrick Scott, known to most as a concert pianist, but a paranormal investigator and a time traveler professor to a select few.

Like Holmes and Watson trying to solve a mystery, together they explore lost worlds and their friendship is tested to the limits when they go back in time to find it. Both discover that karmic ties and unconscionable crimes have followed them like ghosts from the past, wreaking havoc on the present and possibly the future.

I received The Time Traveler Professor as an ARC via Netgalley. While I’m always loath to say anything negative about an ARC, and do try my best to like them, I’m afraid I couldn’t find much to enjoy about The Time Traveler Professor.

I think my irritation with the book began with the title: The Time Traveler Professor. It’s just wrong – grammatically speaking. And I think the cover is rather uninspiring. It was the blurb which hooked me – though the realisation did not, unfortunately, live up to the promise.

The grammatical errors continued throughout the book, and the sentence structure and language choices were jarringly out of place for a book set in this period. I cannot even count the number of times I’ve said that about a book at this point, and it always spoils the piece for me completely. I simply cannot invest in the book, suspend disbelief, when I am constantly thinking about how off-key the word choices are and re-writing the sentences in my head.

The book is quite fast-paced, which did keep the pages turning. However, it all got a little confusing and confused at points. It was quite disorienting in the way it meandered seemingly at random from mystery to fantasy to fan-fiction to historical fiction. It felt like the sort of dream someone might recount in therapy in a lunatic asylum, to be honest. And despite the breakneck pace and surrealist story, the plot still somehow managed to drag.

I was excited to meet a fictionalised Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, as he’s always been one of my favourite authors. However, while the author had clearly done her homework, I’m sorry to say I felt the character was somewhat lacking in the flavour of the man himself. There were a lot of facts which felt shoehorned in, and it was a case of too much “show” and not enough “tell”. The protagonist, on the other hand, while not exactly anything new, was fun and engaging. I found myself willing him on.

I didn’t enjoy all the detailed babble about spiritualism. While I appreciate that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took quite aninterest in the subject, I thought the amount of information provided to the reader was overwhelming and, unless you were also very interested in it, a little dull. I had to skim through those parts.

For some reason, there were also random pictures inserted here and there. Why, I was never able to fathom. Do we need to see the image, or could we not just have read the description? This is not in any way an historical fiction – we don’t need the illustrations. They felt completely out of place.

I think the only thing I really enjoyed about this book was the setting. It was clearly well researched and was written with great attention to detail and in compelling style.

Unfortunately, The Time Traveler Professor was not a great success for me. While it showed enormous potential, and I very much enjoyed the setting, I felt overall that the characters and plot lacked a reason for the reader to invest and suspend disbelief – and it asked you to do so rather too much.

As much as I did not enjoy this book, I do feel compelled to point out that it won a few awards – so perhaps this was simply just not for me.

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