Out of Time: A Time Travel Mystery (Out of Time #1) by Monique Martin
Simon Cross has problems. His family shuns his beloved, recently-deceased grandfather, Sebastian. He has feelings for his assistant, Elizabeth. And he keeps having nightmares in which Elizabeth dies. Feeling he must be the cause, he keeps her at arm's length.
Then Simon and Elizabeth find themselves transported back in time to 1920s New York City. They determine that they need to survive for several weeks - at a minimum - before they can return to the present. Both manage to find jobs, which manages to bring them into contact with local mob boss King Kashian, a man used to getting what he wants. And he wants Elizabeth.
The story skillfully weaves together a number of substories: a developing romance between Simon and Elizabeth, King Kashian's story, and a series of murders that leave Simon,. a professor of occult stories, believing he may have found direct proof of the existence of vampires, proof that would validate the claims of his grandfather.
I also enjoyed the historical context as well: Simon and Elizabeth find themselves wondering what tourists from the future should visit when given the chance to see 1920s New York City, a time before the Great Depression and a time before the Empire State Building was under construction. I enjoyed how the author weaved modern-day sensibilities into 1920s realities; situations which today would be considered animal cruelty or sexual harassment are considered perfectly acceptable, and the future travelers must adjust to avoid standing out.
Naturally, Simon and Elizabeth's greatest priority is ensuring that they are prepared when the time comes to return to the present. Naturally, nothing goes smoothly as they try to make that goal. The conclusion provides both a satisfying ending to this book, and provides enough interest in the main characters to draw readers like me back for the next volume in the series.
Rating: 4.0 stars out of 5