“Swierczynski (Severance Package, 2007) originally planned to write this beguiling, pulp-style mix of fantasy and mystery as a magazine serial, but when the New York Times Magazine bowed out of the fiction business, he turned it into a stand-alone novel.
Mickey Wade, an unemployed journalist, moves into his grandfather’s apartment in the family’s old Philadelphia neighborhood and, after gobbling a few aspirin to fight a hangover, finds himself beamed back to the day of his birth in 1972. Turns out those weren’t your garden-variety aspirin but, rather, the pills a crackpot scientist had created as part of a government-funded plan to investigate out-of-body travel. Only, in Mickey’s case, he can only go back to the early 1970s. But there’s plenty to do there: if he can somehow divert the young boy who will eventually murder Mickey’s father, he can change his family’s history.
Swierczynski cleverly melds the thriller and fantasy elements (especially the notion of nonlinear time), producing a thoroughly readable, suspenseful romp that evokes John D. MacDonald’s pulp classic The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything.”