Malachi, Ruse Master is a spin-off to Pamela Schloesser Canepa’s Detours in Time science fiction series. It is a riving mystery novel following the adventures of an upstart assistant to a private investigator. This thrilling coming of age story follows a college dropout named (or renamed) Malachi as he tries to piece together a life using the unique verbal intellectual, and thespian skills he poses. Malachi is offered a job helping a private investigator with shadowy intentions, and the results are alluring.
Malachi, Ruse Master unfolds like a series of separate but dramatic anecdotes that cast a light on people, families, and their relationships. I liked how each chapter was its own nutshell mystery. It was easy to grasp and easy to follow, which I suppose places this book in the young adult genre, but unfairly as there is still some depth to the overarching themes present throughout the novel. I enjoyed the many different ways that Malachi was able to accomplish his tasks. They were always different and creative and something that I think makes this novel stand out from other sleuth novels.
Malachi is trying to eke out a living on the D.C. streets. While not as developed as the setting could have been, I enjoyed how the novel stayed focused on the captivating characters. This, in essence, is a character driven story that follows one young mans motivated rise out of the streets and into an intriguing job that allows his skills to flourish.
Malachi is a character that takes time to build and his journey is something that kept me picking this novel back up. Malachi, Ruse Master is an absorbing private investigator novel that fans of mystery books will surely enjoy. Pamela Schlosesser Canepa has written an engaging thriller that follows a young man with extraordinary talents who grapples with the consequences of life and his actions.
Pages: 160 | ASIN: B086VYJYZX
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Undercurrents in Time follows Tabitha as she sets off on her own adventures to try and understand what will happen to her family in the future. What were some themes that you felt were important and wanted to explore in this novel?
I felt the theme of balancing family and personal identity were very important, as this is something that happens to may women. Hence, the focus and tone does become a little different in Undercurrents in Time. There is also a theme of love/romance, as one’s expectations of love sometimes experience drastic changes as life goes on. However, there is still some fun in this book. Tabitha is a little rebellious as she tries to deal with her perceived loss of personal identity. She is a stubborn, strong-willed woman just as she was in Detours in Time.
Tabitha is an interesting character that I enjoyed exploring. What served as your inspiration while you were creating her character?
They say to write what you know. Well, I sure don’t always do that, however, I have spent a lifetime of holding in my opinions and second guessing the things I have said. Maybe that is what turned me into a writer. I revisit and reinvent my responses to scenarios from my life. I made Tabitha a strong-willed, outspoken woman, as that is what I have been taught not to be all my life, yet, I have always been stubborn. I think she deals with it in a healthier way. She is also never a peace maker just for the sake of being a peace maker. Her experiences in this book go back to some of my experiences with marriage and motherhood. I imagined some of the things I really longed to do when I was at that point in my life. However, I wanted to make her heroic. So, she was based on a mix of myself, the person I wish I was, and the personality of Jodie Foster’s character in Contact. (If I had to choose an existing character).
What were some ideas you wanted to carry over from Detours in Time and what were some new ideas you wanted to expand on in this book?
I wanted to revisit the character of Sal and expand a little bit on the character of Louise as well as giving some story to their family. In between, we have Calais. I also wanted Sal to have more backstory in this timeline while giving more backstory to Tabitha’s brother, Jared, whose life is drastically different in this timeline.
Ideas I carried over were the differences between Milt and Tabitha’s personalities, and how Milt really does not try to change her. Another was the suffering we do for our family members, learning to love them while stepping back a little and balancing our concern for them with concern for ourselves. Another thing I wanted to expand on the reality of love, how the illusion of new love is never the same as what you have a few years later. Yet, there is hope. I am trying not to give away key plot points here….
Are you a fan of the science fiction genre? What are some of your favorite time travel movies or books?
I certainly am a fan of the science fiction genre! When I was younger, I’d read my mom’s Stephen King books and just loved how they warped my understanding of reality. I loved Planet of the Apes, Back to the Future, Dr. Who, and many futuristic dystopian books and movies. I loved reading Kings 11-22-63 and the Outlander series, though I am hard-pressed to read her recent 1,000 pages tomes. I also loved The Time Traveler’s Wife, which was a mix of time travel and romance. To be honest, I haven’t read that many time travel books, it is more the time travel shows that have impressed on me, that and historical fiction or dystopian fiction. I love to ponder how things would be different if we tweaked just one little facet of our lives.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
Malachi (from Undercurrents) is speaking to me. It’s funny, I also started a story last fall about Norrie from the Made for Me series, but I think Malachi will be next. However, that could change. Can you tell I don’t write full-time? Sometimes I write to shave off remnants of a bad day, or I catch a mood. I get inspired at times by the oddest things. I am sure this is why the tone in my novels is not always the same. At any rate, I write a lot in Nov. and Dec. when there is less daylight, then I send to beta-readers, ruminate on it, revise, etc. Summer is usually when I like to publish a book because I teach, and summer allows me time to devote to releasing a book. However, I have short story ideas that I may release in the fall or spring. Following my newsletter is a great way to get notice of my stories or new releases, as I sometimes send free short stories to those on my newsletter list. I have ideas for other characters from Undercurrents in Time as well as new ideas that may not get the attention they need until I retire. Please don’t ask when that is. I have got to play the lottery more often…For sure, I will have plenty to keep me busy!
Now it seems the very things that cemented their bond will also drive a wedge between them emotionally. Travel to the future, discovery of a long-lost, troubled family member, and an unplanned baby all have taken a toll. Tabitha struggles to accept her new identity as a mother while remaining a strong, independent woman. She longs for a getaway, even a short one, but that getaway puts her on a collision course with danger.
Milt is busy trying to prevent a horrible future disaster at the hands of an enemy he has not yet met. While concerned, Milt doesn’t even suspect Tabitha’s plans, the very plans that will have her facing Milt’s nemesis.
Tabitha risks it all on a brief escape. How will she handle the unforeseen dangers she faces and make her way back home? How far will Tabitha and Milt go to prevent tragedy?
Posted in Interviews
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With Undercurrents in Time, Pamela Schloesser-Canepa offers readers a second novel in the saga of Professor Milton Braddock and Tabitha, his assistant turned wife. While the characters and time-traveling adventures in Undercurrents may feel familiar to readers, the novel is completely different from its predecessor when it comes to themes and plot action. Undercurrents is a well-written, thoughtful, and emotional work, lacking only in that it must be compared to Detours, which created such a fantastic series of adventures between a vibrant pair of protagonists that it is hard to match.
Set two years after Detours, Undercurrents’ present-day is set in 1999 as citizens prepare for Y2K, which will certainly elicit a laugh from readers of a certain age. The novel once again focuses on the dynamic duo of Milt, a quintessential frazzled scientist, and Tabitha, now his wife and mother of their son, Peter. The novel focuses this time, though, on Tabitha much more than Milt, which will likely disappoint some readers yet delight others. A new mother, Tabitha is understandably feeling overwhelmed as she tries to balance being a good mother and wife with her desire for independence – oh, and don’t forget that there’s a time-traveling car tempting her in the garage. Schloesser-Canepa follows Tabitha as she sets off on some of her own adventures to try to understand what will happen to her family in the future and to attempt to thwart the sinister Dr. George Mahoney, a rival to Milt who was introduced in Undercurrents. As in Detours of Time, Schloesser-Canepa dedicates a balanced amount of time on both action and emotion, as she skillfully lets readers into Milt and Tabitha’s psyches, yet never bore, and always has a surprise waiting around the next page.
Undercurrents in Time is full of interesting futuristic characters and quick witted dialogue, but fans of Schloesser-Canepa’s earlier novel may miss the charming yet somewhat awkward Milt, as Tabitha ventures alone in much of the story. However, Schloesser-Canepa introduces several characters who are begging for a novel of their own, including the mysterious Ellie, who I will not describe at the risk of revealing too much, and the hired actor Malachi, whose coolness is undeniably intriguing.
Readers who have not read the first installment, Detours in Time, may feel a little lost upon occasion, as Schloesser-Canepa does not spend much time rehashing the past (or future, depending on how you look at it! This is a science fiction novel, after all…), so I recommend reading Detours before beginning Undercurrents.
Schloesser-Canepa closes this novel saying she does not anticipate a third installment in the series. While Undercurrents in Time came to a natural close, it felt almost as if it ended with a fizzle, and readers of both Milt and Tabitha novels are certainly craving a bang. As a standalone novel, Undercurrents in Time is a very thoughtful, enjoyable, and unique combination of science fiction and motherhood. But, when read as a sequel to the fast-paced Detours in Time, it may leave some readers craving more high-speed journeys into the future. But, who knows – maybe Tabitha and Milt will delight readers with a surprise reappearance down the line in other stories by Schloesser-Canepa. You never know what the future will hold!
Pages: 299 | ASIN: B07DCCQS3N
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Pamela Schloesser Canepa’s novel, Detours in Time, is anything but your run of the mill science fiction novel. It follows Professor Milton Braddock, who has conveniently developed a time-traveling car, and his assistant turned traveling companion, Tabitha (cutely nicknamed “Pinky” by the professor). The pairing of the older and more experienced Milt with young, spunky Tabitha will feel comfortably familiar to Doctor Who fans, as the two travel through time, encountering futuristic adventures as they begin to feel a bit closer than just friends. Though their time travels begin as scientific examinations into both the past and the future, Milt and Pinky’s present and future lives begin to unravel when they break their golden rule of not disturbing the future.
Canepa’s novel excels by creating three distinct time periods that each feel relatable to readers: 1997 (the “present” for Milt and Pinky), 2018, and 2047 (where most of the novel occurs). By creating a recent past setting, a practically present setting, and a not too distant future setting, Canepa creates a science fiction novel that relies on her well-developed plot and inter-character relationships rather than the spaceships, aliens, and high-tech gadgets of many science fiction works.
Detours in Time begins mid-adventure in 2047, without skipping a beat. Though 2047 is certainly more futuristic than what readers in 2017 experience in their daily lives, it is not so high-tech as to be completely beyond belief. But perhaps most shocking to readers will be how the citizens of 2047 describe the war that tore apart the United States in 2019, with reasons for division painfully realistic: “how tax money was spent, which citizen’s rights could or could not be limited and for what reason, the role of the military, who was allowed to immigrate into the country…” Milt and Pinky are aghast at the country’s divide, but readers’ hearts in 2017 will ache at the accuracy of what Canepa describes.
But, thankfully for readers, Canepa does not spend too much time dwelling on the demise of the United States, but rather takes a closer look at the questions that time travel inevitably brings: What happens when you interfere? Could a single action reroute history entirely? Are you better off not knowing? The last question is one that Pinky and Milt find themselves asking after they look into their own futures and decide to take a bite of the forbidden fruit: trying to change the future.
A truly five-star novel, Detours in Time is a well-written and interesting story with characters who are developed independently and whose relationships are carefully crafted, not flung together as if forced. Detours never stalls or bores readers, but it invests enough time in explanations and detail that it feels thought out. Readers will find Milt and Pinky’s 90s naïveté charming (What’s a text? What does it mean to swipe? Why would anyone eat food out of a truck?) but also eye-opening: how long ago were we asking those same questions ourselves? Milt and Pinky’s present is just twenty years in our past, which begs the question, what wonders or terrors does twenty years in our future hold? Canepa brings Detours In Time to a natural close, but leaves the door wide open for a second novel in the series, hopefully one that readers will not have to travel too far into the future to experience.
Pages: 305 | ASIN: B0711ZW6XF
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