Book Review - Nick of Time by Tim Downs
Bug Man is back! Through the Amazon Vine review program, I was able to get a copy of Tim Downs' latest Bug Man novel, Nick of Time. Nick Polchak, forensic entomologist and socially clueless individual, is about to get married (much to the surprise of everyone who knows him). Alena Savard, a reclusive dog trainer whose strangeness is a perfect match for Polchak, is planning their wedding, but Polchak doesn't understand all the social norms and expectations for that event. Furthermore, he needs to take a short trip just a week before his wedding... and knowing Nick, there's no guarantee that he'll make it back in time.
Polchak gets a letter from an old friend and colleague asking him to attend a monthly meeting of professionals that discuss and confer on cold cases. Alena doesn't want him to go, and she feels like he's putting his work before her and their upcoming marriage. Nick promises it'll just be a short overnight trip, and can't understand why everyone thinks it's a mistake for him to leave that close to the wedding. When the colleague doesn't show up for the meeting, Nick drives to his house, only to discover evidence that the guy has been murdered. Of course, that's enough for Nick to get totally absorbed into solving the mystery (and ignore contacting Alena), and that leaves Alena wondering if Nick is ready to be married, as well as his commitment to her. The more he digs into the case, the more things are not as they appear. What's worse is that Alena has tracked him down, and her involvement adds a twist to the situation that no one counted on...
I enjoy what Downs has created with the Polchak character. He's a great mix of social ineptitude, dry humor, and sharp dialogue. His whole world revolves around bugs, and he's aware that he doesn't understand what makes normal people tick. Nick of Time departs a bit from the forensic plots of the past, and the bug angle doesn't figure in as much here. It's more a story of Nick and Alena, and whether their relationship is ready to go to the next step. In the overall scheme of a series, that angle is probably needed to build out the character a bit more. But it did take a small edge off the normal "crime-solving via bugs" flavor of the plots, and I hope the next installment will go back to the normal plot directions.
Even though I may not have liked Nick of Time *quite* as much as prior installments of the Bug Man series, that's not to say I didn't enjoy it a lot. Tim Downs is a favorite author of mine, and I'm looking forward to the next Bug Man installment.
Obtained From: Amazon Vine Review Program