I have to admit right off that I am not a big John D. MacDonald fan. I have nothing against his writing but the particular genre he writes in is just not my cup of tea. The hard-boiled detective stories he turned out year after year just had no appeal. And that was the problem with this particular book in my case. A close friend of mine gave me this book in the early 1960s and she assured me that I would love it. I took the book, tossed it on a shelf where it sat for about three years. One Friday evening I spied it in its dusty corner, thought what the heck, and started reading. I did not put it down until Saturday morning when I came to the last page. I have read this work about ever two or three years since that time and enjoy each reading more than the last. My copy is literally falling apart and I will soon have to apply another layer of duct tape and more glue.
Now, readers of MacDonald books and fans of MacDonald take close note here...this is not like any other book he wrote! In libraries and books stores you will still find this one listed with the rest of the detective stories, crime, etc. but it is actually a science fiction fantasy work! And it is absolutely hilarious in many cases. Yes, it has cops and crooks, good guys and girls and bad, but we are not talking hardcore here at all. I am not at all sure how MacDonald pulled this off, but pull it off he did.
A young man, Kirby Winter has a multimillionaire Uncle by the name of Omar. The uncle dies and does not leave Kirby a cent, only an old gold pocket watch and a sealed letter which he cannot open for one year.
To flash forward a few pages, young Kirby finds out that through this watch he can stop time. He can more or less freeze things at a flick of his fingers, not being effected by the time stoppage himself. Of course these opens up endless possibilities for the author and believe me; the author has taken advantage of them.
This work is loaded with some of the quirkiest and eccentric characters of any work of fiction I have ever read. Our hero get involved with a horridly persistent journalist, mixed up in a massive police manhunt, goes up against a truly evil couple, some idiotic criminals and quite a line-up of girls.
Once the story gets started the action never ceases. There is chases, sex, love, danger, very, very strange situations and of course a humor that I had no idea lurked in the author's mind. Folks, this book is extremely funny!
This in many ways is a very light read, but on the other hand there are situations in it that will make you pause and think. As you read this work, you will get the overwhelming impression that MacDonald enjoyed writing every word of it and chuckled to himself as he crafted each line.
Do yourself a favor, dig this one up and give it a read. It is a bit different and an absolute hoot.
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About the reviewer
Don Blankenship (TheAncientReader)
Retirement does not suit me and I now substitute teach in our local schools system. I spent twenty years in the military, twenty years in health care as a consultant and have taught in various colleges … more
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To ever-loyal Kirby Winter, multimillionaire Uncle Omar left nothing--nothing but a gold watch and a sealed letter to be opened in one year. But Kirby is destined to inherit the magical power to freeze time itself--a power that could rock the entire universe.