‘Saving Time’ – The Time Police #3 by Jodi Taylor

Life is good for Team Weird, now heroes and fully fledged Time Police officers. Luke can’t wait to bear arms. Jane has a date. And Matthew still hasn’t had his hair cut.

But Time waits for no one, and neither do criminal masterminds. A major threat to the Timeline is looming, one far deadlier than mere idiots who want to change history. And when a familiar face becomes a Very Important Lead, will conflicting family loyalties spell trouble for Team Weird?

One missing. One guilt-ridden. And one facing the end of their Time Police career before it’s even begun. Not so good then, after all.

I think ‘Saving Time’ is the book where the Time Police series comes into its own. In the first book, ‘Team Weird’, three misfit Time Police trainees who seemed unlikely to survive through to graduation, where the answer to the question ‘How do you pull off a spin-off series that makes the Time Police, who are the cultural opposite to the anarchic, curiosity-driven, rule-bending, chaos-causing St Mary’s, into heroes – even though they’re a black-clad, weapons-wielding, shoot first and don’t bother asking questions afterwards, hierarchical, militaristic brutish bunch?’. They’re a clever plot device to humanise the Time Police and get to understand what the organisation was trying to do.

In ‘Saving Time’, Team Weird aren’t trainees anymore. They’re proper Time Police. Well, except that they’re still misfits and trouble magnets and many of the Time Police want nothing to do with them. Team Weird has moved well beyond being a plot device. Over the past two books, they’ve become well-drawn individuals with complicated back-stories, diverse motivations and an absolute commitment to each other that means that they never back down or buckle under. Each team member is easy to like. Their flaws make them relatable, their strengths make them admirable and their loyalty to each other makes them enviable.

Reading ‘Saving Time’ was slow, gentle fun spiced with moments of danger and outbreaks of violence that felt real enough to be exciting but not gruesome enough to push the novel into GrimDark territory. A lot of the fun and some of the violence came from watching the Time Police adjust to having Team Weird among them. There is abuse and betrayal. There is an almost cringe-making attempt at dating. There is the pleasure of seeing the people in Team Weird become more confident and more whole.

The plot is more complicated and less episodic than my experience of the St. Mary’s books had led me to expect. This series has a strong story arc. The events in ‘Saving Time’ are closely linked to the first two books and characters that were introduced earlier reappear, often in surprising ways. In terms of the story arc, ‘Saving Time’ is a bridging book, it opens up as many topics as it resolves but it has a strong sense of forward motion that made me keen to read the fourth book ‘About Time’, which has just been released.

I recommend the audiobook versions of the Time Police novels. Zara Ramm’s narration adds a whole layer of enjoyment, like the cream and jam in a Victoria Sponge cake. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.

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