Review: The Shimmer by Carsten Stroud

Title: The Shimmer by Carsten Stroud
Publisher: MIRA
Genre: Contemporary, Historical (50s), Mystery, Suspense, Sci-Fi/Time Travel
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


How do you hunt a killer who can go back in time and make sure you’re never born?

A police pursuit kicks Sergeant Jack Redding of the Florida Highway Patrol and his trainee, Julie Karras, into a shoot-out that ends with one girl dead and another in cuffs, and the driver of the SUV fleeing into the Intracoastal Waterway. Redding stays on the hunt, driven by the trace memory that he knows that running woman—and he does, because his grandfather, a cop in Jacksonville, was hunting the same woman in 1957.

Redding and his partner, Pandora Jansson, chase a seductive serial killer who can ride The Shimmer across decades. The pursuit cuts from modern-day Jacksonville to Mafia-ruled St. Augustine in 1957, then to the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1914. The stakes turn brutal when Jack, whose wife and child died in a crash the previous Christmas Eve, faces a terrible choice: help his grandfather catch the killer, or change time itself and try to save his wife and child.

The Shimmer is a unique time-shifting thriller that will stay with you long after its utterly unforeseen and yet perfectly diabolical ending


The Shimmer by Carsten Stroud is a very clever time travel mystery that is fast-paced and engaging.

In the present, Florida Highway Patrol Sergeant Jack Redding and trainee Julia Karras are involved in a high speed chase of an SUV. After the vehicle pulls over, the driver runs off into the woods with the police hot on her heels. Inside the SUV, Jack and Julia find teenage sisters Rebecca and Karen Walker bound in the backseat. While Jack tries to locate the driver, Julia is tasked with setting the sisters free.  When the situation quickly goes south, Julia is forced to protect herself from the girls and after Jack returns to assist her, the mystery woman in the woods vanishes. Later that same evening, Jack and fellow officer Pandora Jansson uncover a stunning link between the driver of the SUV and a case his grandfather, Clete Redding, worked on back in 1957. What, if any, connection could there possibly be between these two cases that take place decades apart?

Jack is unexpectedly presented with the opportunity to find out how the cases intersect when he travels back in time to 1957.  He arrives at a pivotal moment in Clete’s  investigation into the mysterious woman he knows as Selena and her ties with the Vizzini crime family. Working together, Jack and Clete try to uncover the truth surrounding Selena and their investigation then takes them to New Orleans, where NOPD officer Annabelle Fontaine bears a stunning resemblance to someone from Jack’s life in the present.

The coincidences keep coming at Jack when his path crosses with yet another person who plays an instrumental role in his life in the future. Jack’s knowledge about events from the past also torment him as he and grandfather attempt to find out the truth about Selena, whom Jack is certain is murdering her way through time.  What will happen if Jack and Clete try to intervene with history?  More importantly, what if Selena attempts to manipulate events to her advantage? Is it possible to change the past without affecting the future? And will Jack and Clete figure out who Selena is and what exactly she is attempting to locating as she travels through time?

The Shimmer  is an innovative and riveting mystery that incorporates Florida’s history with the Mafia into the storyline.  The time travel element is quite fascinating and this aspect of the plot raises some very intriguing questions about the unintended consequences of altering events from the past. Carsten Stroud completely wraps up the story arc about why Selena is traveling through time and Jack exacts his revenge for her role in a tragic loss. The  novel ends with a stunning plot twist that is completely unforeseen, somewhat ambiguous and a little frustrating. Fans of the genre(s) do not want to miss this enjoyable time travel mystery.

1 Comment

Filed under Carsten Stroud, Contemporary, Historical, Historical (50s), Mira, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Sci Fi, Suspense, The Shimmer, Time Travel

One Response to Review: The Shimmer by Carsten Stroud

  1. Timitra

    Thanks for the review Kathy