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A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain

A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain
Pub. Date: April 11, 2016
Source: e-ARC via netgalley (Thank you, Pegasus!)
Summary: Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.

While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place – Aldrich Castle – but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.

Mistaken for a lady’s maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a young girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there’s some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman.
Genre: Historical Mystery, Time Travel

Practically a genius, Kendra is the youngest person to be hired on as an agent for the FBI and her rise within the organization showed no signs of slowing. …until a raid gone bad. Just as her team was about to make the arrest, a traitor was uncovered, resulting in half the team being slaughtered and Kendra herself was wounded. After recovering she slipped out of the country, flying to England, determined to fulfill the mission.

Things went from bad to worse, however, when she found herself in the middle of an assassination attempt – and somehow her escape route took her much further than she thought. 1815, to be exact. It just so happens that Aldrich Castle is hosting several guests and Kendra is mistaken for a lady’s maid. More than a little confused, Kendra attempts to blend in while trying to figure out what happened and how to get back home. But when the body of a girl is discovered on the castle’s grounds, Kendra realizes she must have been brought there for a reason.

Let’s take another look at the summary, yes? FBI agent. Time travel. 1800s. Serial killer. A Murder in Time all but screams my name! To be honest, when I started the book I was fairly disappointed – nothing was grabbing my attention and I really didn’t care about Kendra’s parent issues (she was essentially manufactured in a lab) nor was I all that invested in the build up to the raid. Once I got past those initial chapters, though, I was golden and surprisingly hooked!

Kendra’s (oh so poor) effort at fitting in was a joy to read. I love books that show the upstairs/downstairs dichotomy and this one was no exception. Right from the start the inner workings of Aldrich Castle are revealed and Kendra’s time spent getting to know the other maids was nothing short of lovely. Upstairs was just as wonderful, particularly her relationship with the Duke – not in a romantic sense, more like a father/daughter relationship. He was genuinely intrigued and enchanted by Kendra’s interest in science and literature and he was just a pleasure.

The mystery was also very well done and I’ll admit it took a bit of guessing on my part! Kendra first has to convince this group of manly men that she’s fully capable of aiding them and that she knows what she’s talking about. Seeing her go about solving the case without 21st century tools was a ton of fun too!

There is a hint of romance which led to a pretty surprising ending – and also possibly room for a sequel in the future, though I’m happy with how things wrapped up here. I didn’t think too much of this one in the early chapters – too much setting up her ‘present day’ life/secret raid – but once things got rolling I was completely hooked and ended up enjoying this one far more than I initially expected! Great characters, an awesome setting, and an intriguing plot all make A Murder in Time an excellent debut and you can bet I’ll be keeping an eye out on what McElwain does next!

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