The Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Farrell was a fun book.
That seems to come across disparagingly. Like patting a child on the head. ‘Well aren’t you just a fun little book.’ Or perhaps like watching a Michael Bay movie instead of going to see that smart, low budget indie. Maybe you want to eat Cheezy Bacon-Ranch Zingers instead of the grilled salmon, I don't know...
I digress, but I assure you this book is much, much better than eating deep fried bacon ranch cheese balls while watching Transformers.
The story is that of a time traveling narrator who meets up with himself every year on his birthday. To celebrate his birthday with himself. His future selves and his past selves. He gets to see his young, immature drunk selves and his stodgy, wrinkled, future selves. All at the same party. And that premise was enough to hook me. Who hasn't quietly wished they could go back in time to smack the crap out of their past selves, or whisper a secret, or set them along the 'right' path? But soon enough there is a problem, a conflict. There is a murder and the man in the suit must try and solve the murder to avoid alternate, unseemly timelines and such.
And this is where the author falters a bit. He bails himself out by describing an untethering, that a future self and a past self's timeline can be broken if an event is interfered with. That's fine, I really didn't want to have to create graphs and timelines to read this book and I can suspend my disbelief. But there is also an entire middle portion that seems 'untethered' from the plot. Superfluous characters are introduced. New York City is in disrepair and crumbling but we're never told why.
Still, I found the central tenets of this 'fun' book fascinating and full of heart. Narrative fiction about one’s choices, about dissatisfaction with one's lot in life, an eagerness and/or inability to affect change are themes I'm drawn to and this had all that. And I promise, this book is better than watching Battleship while eating Hotdog Pizza Bombs.