Book Review: Return of the Time Police, Kim H Johnson

Lady in leather flight cap stands in foreground, in front of a blimp

This is the sequel to The Last of the Time Police . . . the one that provides the resolutions and answers the questions raised by that first novel (or Volume 1 Part 2 if you’re really being honest). All of the characters from the first part make an appearance as Johnson continues to lead us on a wacky time hopping journey through the past.

Taking up the story from where the first part left off, the deadly duo (mostly to themselves), Stan and Jack, try and pull out all the stops to fix the completely messed up timeline, which is only fair as they are the ones most directly responsible for the timeline being messed up in the first place. However, their plans are put on hold whilst they are arrested, tried (very quickly) and schedule to hang, along with their accomplices, for treason. Lucky for them, Maggie Wells fixes their time machine and comes to their rescue. Retraces their steps through time however, only seems to make things worse, as they manage to cause a paradox that wipes out a famous historic figure.

The settings for the story are much the same as the first book, revisiting the same locations and periods; a little disappointing considering the scope a time machine offers a writer to explore exotic locales. We learn a bit more about the characters and they are finally allowed to complete their story arcs, although the ending was still a little unsatisfactory, as two of the side characters reap most of the glory.

The writing style is also similar to the original albeit slightly more refined. The situational comedy is brilliant and manages to sustain the story despite the recycled settings.

The test for sequels is really whether they can cut it as a stand-alone novel, and personally I do not think either the original or this installment can. I really believe that these two volumes should have been published as one book, which would then excuse the lack of any new characters or settings. On its own this book is a 2/5. But the first two books read as one merit a 4/5.

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