Anyone who has fantasized about what it would be like to be a time traveler or have had a strong desire to put on a thinking cap then solve a puzzling murder might well find both of these wishes fulfilled vicariously through Keith Tittle’s début novel, Drawn Back.
Set in Portland, Oregon, this tale of greed, corruption, ruthless murder and love that spans many decades shifts back and forth between 1929 as the stock market crash approaches and the much-less calamitous year of 1991.
A dreadful murder takes place at the beginning of the novel to kick off the action in 1929; a preamble of what’s to come. Fast-forward to 1991 as Professor Patrick O’Connell is just beginning his tenure at Portland State’s history department, with a wage that’s not quite a living wage and a desire to find a place to live while he grades papers and contemplates his failed marriage. The answer comes sooner than expected when he meets the beautiful and charming Rachel Wirth, whose wily grandmother, Julia, insists that he move into her family home gratis instead of paying rent.
In his 10-Question Author Interview, Tittle admits that his approach to storytelling is strongly influenced by his love of movies from the 1930s and ‘40s – and a very good influence indeed. Tittle weaves a solid who-dun-it character-driven story, a multifaceted mystery incorporating elements of romance and time-travel. Despite the need for one more editorial pass, Drawn Back invites the readers to “…explore its characters’ motivations and morality in the darkest of circumstances.” A Matter of Justice, the author’s second title won the CIBA 2016 Clue Awards for Mystery and Suspense novels.
Unable to truly comprehend his newfound luck with these two remarkable women, O’Connell wanders about the otherwise empty house (both women live elsewhere) and literally steps back into the same dwelling 62 years earlier and becomes the sole witness of a well-planned murder. Then, by intervening with a critical piece of “placed” evidence, the wheels are set in motion for an incredible journey through time where any wrong move by the “guest” could have disastrous ramifications in the future yet to come.
Tittle delivers a most believable narrative that finds its focus around corporate greed, villains who are willing to do whatever it takes to “win,” and two women who are waiting for their hero to uncover the truth.
The question becomes, can our hero right the wrongs of the past without destroying the future? Readers will delight in the answers.