On Borrowed Time
by David Rosenfelt
Cover Artist: Photo-illustration by Steve Garder / PixelWorks Studio, Inc.
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312598365
Date: 15 February 2011 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Freelance journalist Richard Kilmer is engaged to marry his fantasy woman, Jennifer Ryan. While visiting her parents in Ardmore, New York, a strange storm causes him to crash his car. Upon regaining consciousness, Richard can't find Jennifer. He begins questioning his sanity upon learning she was murdered as a child. The mystery deepens when his best friends claim they've never heard of Jennifer; in fact, no one in his life knows her. Perhaps Jennifer was a figment of his imagination. However, a woman, Allie Tynes, telephones him, claiming that Jennifer is her twin sister whose real name is Julie. Soon Richard's life becomes a nightmare when he finds himself stalked by an assassin who murders anyone who might help him learn the truth about his missing fantasy woman.
David Rosenfelt's On Borrowed Time is one of the most bizarre, suspenseful mysteries I've read this year. I enjoyed it even more than his previous novel, Down to the Wire. Both of them involve confused journalists who don't know what to believe or who to trust as they endeavor to solve a mystery before many innocent lives are lost in an explosive holocaust. On Borrowed Time is a high tech, medical thriller that involves state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, neurological surgery and the testing of drugs for FDA approval. The true identity of the evil villain, known only as the Stone, remains a mystery until almost the last page. I didn't have a clue to the evil mastermindís true identity. Like an Agatha Christie novel, On Borrowed Time contained numerous red herrings and shocking twists.
After reading On Borrowed Time, Biblical scholars will be shouting, "The Antichrist is coming! The Antichrist is coming!" Big Brother is constantly watching every move Richard makes and listening to every word he speaks. His life is not his own. How much of it is real and how much is imaginary? Soon, he realizes that he wants Jennifer Ryan more than anything else, even if he must live in an imaginary world in order to have her again. He points out that our lives are the summation of our memories, whether they are real or false. Even though everyone tells Richard that Jennifer never existed, he continues to search for her or the woman he believes is her. During his pursuit, he is aided by a surveillance expert, Mark Cook; a private investigator, Craig Langel; an Ellenville, New York police lieutenant, George Kentris; a billionaire stockbroker, Robby Divine; a celebrated Manhattan psychoanalyst, Dr. Philip Garber; a computer programmer, Marie Galasso; a neurological surgeon, Daniel Lovinger; and a gift basket designer from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, Allie Tyne.
On Borrowed Time is very romantic. Richard is always falling in love with beautiful women. Unfortunately, they keep disappearing. He can't go to the authorities because everyone thanks he's a crackpot. He's made the mistake of publishing a series of articles based on his search for Jennifer and practically the entire country has read it. He's become a celebrated lunatic. One can't help but feel sorry for him as his search for the truth only brings him more pain, confusion and heartache. Richard is a very likable guy - the type who enjoys getting together with his buddies at Legends sports bar to watch football games. Unfortunately, heís made some powerful enemies who want revenge and his once ordinary life becomes a nightmarish hell.
Reading David Rosenfelt's On Borrowed Time will make you want to ask, "What the hell is going on here?" Needless to say, its intriguing, unique plot made it difficult to lay aside. I found myself scrambling for more time to read this novel. It is highly recommended for all fans of mystery. It snared me from the beginning and wouldn't let go of me until I was finished. If I find myself living on borrowed time, I only pray there is enough of it left for me to read Rosenfeltís next standalone mystery.