I absolutely loved reading 29 Seconds by T.M. Logan. It is thrilling, thought-provoking and incorporates lots of twists and turns. Here is my full review!
29 Seconds by T.M. Logan is a very thought-provoking narrative. What would you do if you had the chance to make the cause of your problems disappear forever? No strings attached, no consequences; a free pass. Would you use it?
The very nature of this book made me question my own answer to the above. With a predatory, inhumane character portraying the perfect villain, any reader would have to consider how they would answer if in the same situation.
Sarah works with Professor Alan Lovelock in a university English department specialising in the work of Christopher Marlowe. Lovelock is the leading professor of the department and has a reputation for being one of those men women don’t want to get left alone with. When Sarah rescues a young girl from being kidnapped, she is given the option to make someone disappear forever. From there, Sarah undergoes many a trial and tribulation as she battles with her morals and ambition to make the decision.
What I liked
I liked most of the book. It is thoroughly well-written, there is a good mix of male and female characters, with Sarah being a great strong female lead. I like how Logan does not depict all males as evil and all females as weak and gives them each a unique perspective and character within the story. Logan paints Lovelock as the perfect villain and I greatly admire the use of topical issues about men in society, the media and politics within business to steer the story to its conclusion. I feel that this book perfectly conveys that feeling of hopelessness when it comes to sexual harassment, especially from a man in a powerful position.
Sarah is a great lead for this story, as she is not a desperate person. She has been waiting patiently for the right moment to get a promotion within her department, she enjoys her home life with her children and her main source of stress is her wayward husband. Her friends have her back fiercely and there are many strong women in this book. I also like the representation of the fact that not all women defer sexual harassment and not all men are harassers; I feel that this is important to notice, as well as how easily people can sell one another out if it means getting their way.
Sarah’s father is a great man in the book and understands the problems Sarah is facing without ever having gone through them himself. He is supportive and constantly there for her in the absence of her husband, offering a decent male representative in the story.
What I didn’t like
The only thing I didn’t like about this book is the mistake that is made. Without giving away any spoilers, the mistake the Russian men make is very out-of-character and I don’t think it is explained well enough. If they have such confidence in themselves, then that should not have been possible. I believe that they didn’t need to make this mistake and it could have been a completely different story had they not. While I enjoyed the twist that came from the mistake, it took the book in a completely different direction than I was expecting.
I hated Lovelock as a character, obviously, but without him there would be no story. He is the villain we all can’t wait to get given his comeuppance. The people surrounding Lovelock are also terrible members of society, caving to pressures and believing that they are doing the right thing by protecting the institution rather than their female staff members.
Logan would have dug deep to get this story, I believe. It is not something that many authors could write easily, I believe and I think it would have taken an awful amount of consideration into how these characters would behave in the situation. For a male writer considering such key issues in a feminist society, he did incredibly well to tell the story in such a respectful way, while tapping into women’s emotions in a non-intrusive way.
Overall, I would recommend this book to any crime or thriller fiction lovers. It is not bloody and gory, however could be triggering for people who have experienced sexual harassment. I will give this book 5*, yet would love to see the story carried out without the Russians’ mistake. I received an advance proof copy of this book from Bonnier Zaffre in exchange for an honest review.