New 4* review for MISSING TIME on Amazon

New 4* review for MISSING TIME on Amazon, from reader (and writer!) Phillip T. Stephens:

“J. David Clarke’s Missing Time (313) runs your brain through a meat grinder, pounds it with a tenderizer and then, when you think you’re finally fashioned into a meat patty ready to be served up for the ending, he tosses you against the wall. Don’t expect to escape with a neatly tied up ending, Missing Time is the appetizer for the next course in the series and Clarke leaves you dripping down the wall hoping to be scooped up by the pages of the next book.

Yes, I prefer books to come to a clean cut end, even books in a series. Then they can set up the sequel. Hence, I’m holding back the final star. But in this case I’ll forgive him.

I recognize that sometimes you want to be left dangling. Not to mix metaphors but to switch them, if you ever had that girlfriend or boyfriend—you know the one—the classic tease, who could flatten you against that wall, totally electrify you and then walk away leaving you wanting more, this would that book.

Missing time opens with a shark about to discover he stumbled into faster waters than he can handle. The woman he’s stalking makes him look like a minnow, only she discovers she’s prey as well. If this seems like a peek into an Escher drawing, be prepared, Missing Time uses timelines like a roller coaster to propel readers through the Moebius-strip narratives of eight students who survive a bus crash (bus 313) that leaves them with supernatural powers.

The students experience more than new powers. Each experiences a different perception of the crash with a different origin story for their powers. Some try to hide their powers, others embrace them, but all become the targets of the military and a mad scientist who see them as a threat to humanity.

Or do the military see a threat? And is the scientist really a scientist?

Clarke has more tricks up his sleeve than Penn and Teller in an unrated Vegas show. As soon the heroes, and readers feel they’ve finally figured out the storyline, Clarke lifts the veil and they realize it’s all been misdirection. When will he finally reveal the gag? Hopefully by the end of book three, but until then readers will see enough smoke and mirrors to make the ride worthwhile and punch that button to download book two, Time Spent (which I have on my iPad waiting for me to read).

Phillip T. Stephens is the author of Cigerets, Guns & Beer and Raising Hell.”

Mr. Stephens, thanks for taking the time to read and especially to post a review. Judging by the colorful and punchy prose style of your review I’ll have to check out your books sometime! I appreciate all the kind words, yes “running your brain through a meat grinder” is fairly accurate, and things only get crazier in Vol. 2 and 3 (the final book is still in progress).

As for leaving readers hanging, what I have tried to do in this series is answer enough questions that the book will feel satisfying, while introducing new questions to tackle in the next book. The action is similar, the general plot reaches a conclusion, but all new plots begin.

Glad you enjoyed, I’ll be interested to see your thoughts on book 2, and I’m even more determined to get book 3 wrapped up and on shelves! Good luck with your own works, and thanks again.


You can check out MISSING TIME on Amazon here.

Casting Ideas for Missing Time (9)

Remember when I said I rarely ever cast characters as a specific actor in my mind. Well from the very beginning, I had one guy in mind for the character of Carl Macklin, the villain (or misguided anti-hero?) of Missing Time.

Carl’s mind has become a living computer, giving him the ability to understand everything around him, and examine the outcome of every action, calculating thousands of probable futures in a matter of seconds. He is described as white haired, with glasses, and Brandon actually refers to him by this actor’s name throughout the *entire series*.

Brent Spiner, ladies and gentlemen.

brent spiner

Casting Ideas for Missing Time (8)

Zachary is the most mysterious character of Missing Time. You don’t even find out his last name in the first book. (It’s Wells.) Zachary’s power to heal people would be big enough, but he can also bring them back from the dead, and he himself seems to be virtually unkillable.

Zachary is described as medium build, blond hair, and before the crash had never spoken a single word. He appears to have special needs, perhaps a learning disability, and seems somewhat lost without his father to take care of him.

I think Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta in The Hunger Games, could pull off Zachary’s earnestness well.

josh hutcherson

Casting Ideas for Missing Time (7)

Tyler Chambers, blinded in an accident, finds his sight restored in the crash and his new eyes have the power to hold solid objects in place, and even disassemble them and reassemble at a molecular level, among other things.

There’s really only one actor to play the handsome Tyler, and I even made reference to him in Time Spent. (Becca compares him to this actor, to which Tyler replies, “I get that a lot.”)

Matt Bomer is the only one I can see playing Tyler.


Casting Ideas for Missing Time (6)

Heather McDonnell has one of the most bizarre powers in the group: she can become whatever she touches, transforming herself into anything from a working motorcycle to a spash of water or a gust of air.

Heather is described as a rather ordinary girl with mouse brown hair and a troubled background, growing up with her alcoholic mother, she struggles with identity issues.

This sounds to me like a good part for Shailene Woodley, star of Divergent!

shailene woodley

Casting Ideas For Missing Time (5)

Mia Lozano is transformed into a powerhouse of energy, capable of throwing cars and smashing through walls. Channeling her rage into a cracking yellow energy, she is capable of enormous violence and destruction.

But Mia herself is described as being tiny, very short and thin and petite, with black hair which has been dyed electric blue.

Honestly, I could think of only one actress I would want in this role. Game of Thrones’ Maisey Williams would rock the part!


Casting Ideas for Missing Time (4)

Simon Chu is tall, athletic, and handsome. A natural at sports, he struggles with science, and thanks to a power gone awry, finds himself devolving into a gorilla-like creature.

Harry Shum, Jr., from Step Up 2 The Streets, seems perfect for the part!


Casting Ideas for Missing Time (3)

Rebecca “Becca” Miller is a girl with some serious issues. None of which are improved when she receives the ability to read and control people’s minds. She can even take over your body and walk you around like a puppet on her mental strings.

Becca is described as a total stunner with long blonde hair, green eyes, and a bitterly sarcastic attitude.

This role needs a gorgeous actress with a dark side. How about Gage Golightly, from Five Days to Midnight? She seems to fit the bill nicely.


Casting Ideas for Missing Time (2)

When looking around for young actors I might see in the role of Brandon Holt, one guy jumped out and I have not gotten him out of my head since.

Brandon of course has the ability to fly, even to “warp speed” through space, and potentially much more. He is described in the book as a gangly boy with a mop of curly hair. He’s a nerdy kid with boundless optimism for his super powers.

Colin Ford from TV’s Under the Dome seems to actually BE Brandon, if you look at enough images. Check it out!

colin ford

Casting Ideas for Missing Time (Part 1)

I don’t usually visualize a particular person while writing, or name a person who I think fits the part, primarily because I don’t want to limit my readers from visualizing the character the way they want. But I thought, why not have fun and name the people I might cast as parts from MISSING TIME.

Let’s start with the part of Kevin Lloyd, the hero who seems strangely different from the others. Most powers don’t seem to affect him. Nothing can hurt him, and he can move through space and solid matter as though reality has no hold on him.

Kevin is described in the book as bald, African American, and of medium build. I think Trai Byers of TV’s Empire might be a good fit.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the next pick. In the meantime, feel free to share any casting choices of your own. Who could you see playing Kevin?

trai byers

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