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Kelsey Clifton
A Day Out of Time
Cat Fiyero is no stranger to chaos. Once a year the world fractures into rifts, allowing modern New Yorkers to walk side-by-side with dinosaurs, killer mermaids, and beings from distant stars. The cleanup falls to people like Cat and the brilliant but damaged members of Gamma team, who all know from personal experience that their job has a way of haunting anyone who gets close. Nothing about a Day is ever simple, and if this band of misfits wants to make it through the next twenty-four hours unscathed, their only choice is to stick together. The rules are simple: Identify and relocate subjects. Clear and close rifts. Don’t cause trouble. Too bad Cat and her team aren’t much for rules.
Clifton seamlessly joins ridiculous comedy with tender emotional moments for a highly enjoyable debut tale of time gone awry. It’s the day before the annual “Day out of Time,” when temporal rifts open that allow humans and others to pass from one time to another. Most people forget about the Day as soon as it’s over, remaining blissfully unaware that the past and future may have been changed. Those who retain their memories of it—such as sweet, naive Kevin Harrison—are recruited by Cirius and charged with shepherding timeslipped individuals back through the rifts to their proper time. Kevin’s first Day with Cirius is a doozy, and the episodic tale takes on a hilarious comic-book feel as he and the rest of Gamma Team contend with dinosaurs, an alien jazz combo, and something resembling a mountain troll. Clifton shines in her development of more personal moments, such as team physicist Millennia’s romance with a woman who’s a different age every time they meet or the discussion about which team members look white and male enough to be respected by a cohort of “very confused 18th-century Frenchmen.” This fun romp makes great use of its unusual concept. (BookLife)