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Yes, a Rubbermaid Shed Time Travel Machine - an Editorial Review of "Time to Quit"

Author Bio:

I'm a sixty-nine year old retired truck driver who caught the writing bug ten years ago. I've been married to the same sassy redhead for forty-eight years now, and that union has produced two lovely and gifted children plus two amazing grandchildren. When not writing--mainly fiction--I'm an avid woodworker with a basement workshop that never seems to have enough tools and machinery in it. i live in an East Central Ohio community where, when the neighbors pets wander onto the road, are given the right of way. It's Old America.

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Editorial Review:

In front of me was a shed. Not a wooden model but one that looked like the Rubbermaid kind you'd get at any home store... as it swung fully open I put my weapon down. “Menelek,” I said as I pointed to the building in question. “This is my time machine?”

The year is 1984... the year of Spielberg's release of “Back to the Future”, and a young man named Ryan James Anderson is sick of hearing about his infamous ancestor who helped with the assassination of President Lincoln all those years ago. In his small hometown, the stain on his family name follows them throughout the years, and he is determined to do something about it.

When he receives a mysterious letter from a Jewish Rabbi named Menelek, his curiosity piques when the man says he can help him remove the stigma using the secret mystical ways of Kabbalah. Ryan decides to give it a shot, to travel back in time to prevent his ancestor's involvement in the assassination plot. But what Ryan doesn't count on is his own DNA and that maybe, just maybe, the need for excitement, blood-lust, and desire for women is inherited. Plus the fact that you cannot change history.

Un... un... cle Lewis?” I managed to stutter out. “Don't shoot. I'm your future... I mean your long lost nephew.”

In an unexpected turn of events, Ryan finds himself taking on his ancestor's identity and immersed in the plot to kill Lincoln. He rubs shoulders with the likes of John Wilkes Booth and Mary Surratt at the boarding house where a group known as The Knights of the Golden Circle are planning to take over the government, even if the Confederacy fails in the war. As expected, things go mightily awry... and instead of changing things for the good, for a better cause, Ryan's fate is sealed the minute he impersonates his ancestor.

While this book is no “Back to the Future”, there was plenty of humorous moments worthy of comparison to the film... but a bit darker at some points. Marty McFly on steroids, to be sure, with a bit more sex and blood. Perhaps a combination of Spielberg's movie with a bit of The Godfather, which, incidentally, made me chuckle when the main character used the famous line from that movie to instill fear. “I'll give him an offer he can't refuse.”

My Pap once told me that God gave man two great things; a brain and a penis. The downside was He only gave us enough blood to run one at a time. I never understood that back then, but I sure did that day.” - this one-liner had me laughing out loud!

We are about to depart on a mission that will determine the course of free men everywhere. There are many of us – the true Knights of our Golden Circle – that cannot bear to live in a world that will be someday dominated by the coloreds. This is an abomination to us, and if our plan works then we can save all of these United States from the tyranny of a dictator such as the one we have now. My thoughts tend to wish the speedy demise of all three men at once, not pirate them away, but if the nation moves toward total chaos men of our character can fill the void. Do you agree with us?”

As a comedic writer, Mr Rinkes is first rate, and this book offers many humorous moments interwoven with the historical aspect, and should be viewed from the point-of-view of being a “light read”, not the deep meaty historicals most are used to reading. This can be finished in one brief afternoon, and provides an entertaining escape for that time period. On the downside, many things are left unanswered, such as questions about the mysterious Rabbi and Ryan's involvement in Kabbalah, which comes right out of left field, not to mention the character's in-depth motives felt a little one-dimensional. Naturally, anyone might want to get rid of such a stigma, but to surrender his entire modern-life and take a chance on a Rubbermaid shed time-machine is not fully addressed and left me a bit confused. Perhaps a follow-up novel might cover some of these issues. With Marty in “Back to the Future” the motive is clear and continues like a thread throughout the entire series of movies. With this novel... not so much. However, that being said, and as I stated before, the comic relief throughout the story makes this one a clever read if you want an afternoon of quick escape.


“Time to Quit” by Tom Rinkes receives 3.5 stars from The Historical Fiction Company

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