In A Rip Through Time, Kelley Armstrong creates Vancouver police detective Mallory Atkinson. Mallory is visiting her gravely ill grandmother in Edinburgh, Scotland. The year is 2019. Until one evening when Mallory goes jogging and unexpectedly finds herself waking up in Victorian Edinburgh. She thinks she’s helping a crime victim, but instead ends up switching into the body of a Scottish housemaid—in 1869.
Mallory’s new body belongs to Catriona Mitchell, who’s just 18 to Mallory’s 30. And, of course, the times are far from modern. Mallory reaches more than once for her phone from her back pocket, neither of which exists for Catriona. And that’s just the one indication of the story to come.
Armstrong combines historical fiction, time travel, and a police procedural in this new Rip Through Time series. Mallory must think through every aspect of the situation—from how to make a fireplace fire to whether she’ll find a way back to her own time and body. There’s a lot of internal dialogue, which sometimes gets tiresome.
On the other hand, Catriona works in a unique household and that makes the story intriguing. Her employers are sister and brother, each with their own oddities. Obviously, they think Catriona’s behaving strangely. So, quite a bit of the story is about how Mallory makes all these changes work to her advantage—mostly.
The murder mystery component is my favorite part of this book. Mallory is a pro at her work, but certainly a fish out of water in Victorian Scotland. It’s fun to watch her manage the conflict between the two. And of course, she and Catriona are both suspects and potential victims, while trying to find the killer.
I’m new to Kelley Armstrong’s writing. I’m also eager to read the next book in this series since I like Mallory. Throwing a present-day detective into the relative complexities of Victorian life is my favorite kind of reading. On top of everything, A Rip Through Time adds thrilling mystery.
My only real quibble with this first book is the copious internal dialogue. Mallory needs to sort everything out—from how to wear a corset to whether fingerprinting is used in criminology yet. And she’s got virtually no one to talk to about her situation. So she talks to herself—a lot.
Thankfully, as the story progresses, Mallory finds allies who help her assess options. These additional characters are just as likable as she is, although sometimes it’s hard to imagine a time traveler landing in such a perfect household.
On the whole, A Rip Through Time is a rip-roaring good book. I recommend it if you like your historical mystery with a solid fantasy twist.
Pair with another time travel, historical series, like Paula Brackston’s excellent Found Things series.
Many thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books, and the author for a digital advanced reader’s copy in exchange for this honest review. A Rip Through Time debuts on May 31, 2022.