Charlotte Banchi


"Beyond This Time"

(Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer DEC 28, 2003)

"It took several seconds for Kat to process the visual input. Her car was softening, almost melting into the early morning gloom. Suddenly, an unseen hand drew the miasma drapery across the deserted street. And the car was gone."

Beyond This Time by  Charlotte Banchi

Kathleen Templeton and her partner James Mitchell have been through a lot together. Even in the year 2000, Maceyville Alabama still has a slight bit of bigotry, and an African American female has to go a long distance to prove herself before she can find acceptance, but that she has. Well, until she and her partner keep getting called away to different crime scenes, only to find that the crime...a fire, fighting...never occurred. In one case, the house at the address no longer existed. What's worse is that things turn kind of surreal at these scenes...time acts funny. While doing some desk work as punishment, Kat notices a correlation to these seeming prank calls and a list of actual incidents that happened in 1963. Her own Aunt, Lettie Ruth, disappeared mysteriously that same year, and she realizes after an experiment that she can actually go back in time and perhaps save her Aunt. She prepares herself and goes, leaving Mitch, frustrated because he's sure this can't end well, behind. It won't be long before he follows her.

One of the most tense parts of this book is the fact that this young woman, who, despite her convictions that she'll be able to handle herself fine, can't be fully prepared for the full reality of this situation. She gets a reality check of the worst kind only moments into her adventure, and how she deals with it...more vulnerable than ever...is one of the strongest parts of the book. Mitch also has a reality check...he was raised in the north, so he's less than prepared to act like a white guy from this time period. The first thing he does is walk into a colored only bar and sits down, much to the discomfort of his patrons. We knew going into the book that we'd have to face the evils of racism right along with our heroine, but it never occurred to me that Mitch would have to face different kinds of racism, as well as the fact that he, just by being this big, red-headed white guy, has the ability to make people extremely uncomfortable. How horrible to have the ability to take people from happy and comfortable in their surroundings to miserable, maybe even terrified, in a second? Also, he finds racism against himself in an unlikely place, racism that he has to fight against if he's going to save Kat and help her in her plans.

The main bad guys are absolutely disgusting. They are the worst, vilest creatures ever born, and it makes it extra worrisome, because they are all powerful, just because they are white. Even more horrible is to discover one of them is none other than Mitch's own father...and the revelations he discovers will force him to make a heartbreaking decision.

Just like Bianchi's last book, The Whole Enchilada , this book has a lot to offer. It is a very well done, different story, and a particularly brave one. Racism is never a comfortable topic, and especially hard as a focus of a book, but Banchi handles it all with confidence as well as style, creating an exciting page turner with a strong spirit.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 10 reviews


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About the Author:

Charlotte Banchi lives in Southern California with her husband, Michael.

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