Gillian McAllister | Wrong Place Wrong Time

The Book: 

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
Published August 2nd 2022 by William Morrow
Date read: August 1, 2022

The Characters: 

Jen and her husband Kelly
Their son Todd
Ryan, a police officer in another POV

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buy it on Bookshop.org | Amazon


The Plot (from Goodreads):

Can you stop a murder after it’s already happened?

Late October. After midnight. You’re waiting up for your seventeen-year-old son. He’s late. As you watch from the window, he emerges, and you realize he isn’t alone: he’s walking toward a man, and he’s armed.

You can’t believe it when you see him do it: your funny, happy teenage son, he kills a stranger, right there on the street outside your house. You don’t know who. You don’t know why. You only know your son is now in custody. His future shattered.

That night you fall asleep in despair. All is lost. Until you wake . . .

. . . and it is yesterday.

And then you wake again . . .

. . . and it is the day before yesterday.

Every morning you wake up a day earlier, another day before the murder. With another chance to stop it. Somewhere in the past lies an answer. The trigger for this crime—and you don’t have a choice but to find it.

Click here for book spoilers for <em>Wrong Place Wrong Time</em>
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Wrong Place Wrong Time, I suggest you turn back now.

The Twist:

Kelly and Ryan were the same person. Ryan was a police officer who went undercover to infiltrate a drug gang, using the name of his estranged brother, Kelly. (The real Kelly was into drugs and possibly dead? I can’t remember). 

The organization Ryan/Kelly was investigating was stealing cars, and one night accidentally stole a car with a baby in it. This was what spurred Ryan to go undercover–he was trying to figure out how the organization got the tips about the empty houses. As Jen steps back through time, we learn that her father had represented Joe, the leader of the gang. When Jen’s father fell on hard times, Joe threatened him into a deal he couldn’t refuse: Jen’s father would sell information about empty vacation rentals to Joe in exchange for 10% of the price of each car. The baby was a fluke where they were supposed to be robbing the house next door, but something went wrong and instead the footsoldiers stole a car idling on a nearby curb, not realizing there was a baby in the backseat.

The Ending:

Jen wakes up in present-day, and everything since the night she met her husband had changed. Jen had stopped the baby from being kidnapped, so Ryan never had to go undercover. He kept his real name and was still a police officer. They ended up together and had Todd, but Todd didn’t need to kill anyone to protect his parents. Cleo was the stolen baby, although in this timeline she grew up as Eve. She and Todd still ended up dating.

At the very end, Jen’s friend Pauline goes through the same thing Jen did in the first chapter: her son is arrested, but she wakes up and he’s in the house and the date is one day before. The book likens it to hysterical force (what it’s called when a mom lifts a car off a baby in a surge of adrenaline). The physicist that Jen met along the way thought an extreme amount of force would be required to create a time loop like the one Jen was stuck in, but Jen was puzzled by that because she was never hit by a car or anything. The “hysterical force” explanation suggests that a mother will do anything to protect her child, even jump time.

The Review: 

I always go into books completely blind, and sometimes it happens to pay off! I didn’t read the summary and had no idea that I was in for a time loop, groundhog-day-esque story. This genre can be really hit or miss for me, but Wrong Place Wrong Time was certainly a hit. The storyline was refreshingly unique.

I loved Jen–determined to help her son, determined to get to the bottom of what was going on, and intelligent enough to use whatever clues she could each time she woke up somewhere new.

There’s a lot going on through all these time-swaps, so some of it was a little hard to keep track of on audio. Luckily I was also able to follow along in this physical copy and flip back to help keep things straight.

If you liked Wrong Place Wrong Time, check out my review of Gillian’s next book, Just Another Missing Person!

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7 Comments

  1. Jen, maybe you can help me out here since no one has answered my question on GR about this: Baby Eve wasn’t kidnapped. I get that. But how did she “become” Chloe? Or, vice-versa? I’m stumped by this detail. Thanks.

    1. Hmm, I don’t remember if they explained it specifically. I thought it was just a butterfly effect situation where she grew up as Eve in the timeline that the book ended in? Hopefully someone else will chime in with a more specific answer! I can try asking the book club that I read this with, too.

    2. Just finished and loved the book, was refreshing not to see some of the twists coming. Eve was kidnapped in the original timeline and was removed from the car before the car was sent overseas. Eve was then brought up by Joseph’s sister (?) as Clio. It is the same person – named Clio in original timeline as not brought up by her parents. In the adjusted timeline she wasn’t kidnapped so stayed with her parents and lived her life as Eve.

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