The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch
Penguin Publishing Group: 2/6/18
eBook review copy: 400 pages
The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch is a highly recommended, intricately plotted science fiction/crime novel.
In 1997 Shannon Moss is a federal agent with the Naval Criminal
Investigative Service, NCIS, who is assigned to find the missing
teenage daughter of a murdered Navy SEAL's family from southwestern
Pennsylvania. When it is discovered that the murder has ties to
personnel from U.S.S. Libra, a ship assumed
lost during a top-secret space mission years ago, Shannon is sure that
something the survivors encountered triggered the murder. She knows the
mental-trauma of time travel since Shannon is an investigator that
space and the future looking for clues to solve her cases. They are ever
concerned about the ever-changing date of the coming Terminus, the
date that signifies the end of
humanity. Shannon travels ahead in time, to possible futures, seeking
evidence to solve the murder case.
This genre-bending novel satisfyingly integrates a strong procedural
crime investigation with a time traveling science fiction plot. The
views of the potential futures of the Terminus, are all bleak,
nightmarish outcomes, which add an additional horror element to the
story. There are additional science fiction elements that are best
experienced as you are reading rather than in a review. This one is a
mind-twister, but in a good way.
The plot is complex, layered, and the timelines change, so you have to
carefully follow the action and see what may happen and what changes as
Shannon investigates the missing girl, which leads, in part, to her
uncovering a terrorist conspiracy of huge proportions. The suspense
builds as the complexity increases. There is an ever-present feeling of
fear, that a threat is just around the corner. The characters are all
well-developed and presented as individuals.
The Gone World features smart, excellent writing. Sweterlitsch
creates a dark, moody noir feeling in the bleak crime investigation. I
appreciate that the crime investigation was an essential part of the
story and the sci-fi elements didn't overtake it. There were a couple
minor issues with it that prevented me from going with my top rating.
One was the ending, which I didn't personally like. The others could be
Finally, the good news is that The Gone World is being made into a
movie. This is one of those stories that will likely translate well
into a movie and may be easier for everyone to follow along all the
timelines in the action.
My review copy was courtesy of the Penguin Publishing Group.