Ian Hocking is an industrious young (well, youngish) writer who runs a blog, a web page, and writes novels. He is also a bit of a dab hand at getting himself publicity -- which, in this day and age is not so much a virtue as a necessity.
Deja Vu is science fiction. And it is science fiction about time travel, so you need to keep your wits about you. In fact, just about my only criticism of Deja Vu is that you have to concentrate like a bastard or you will miss something. I have this bad habit of reading books in bed, last thing at night; and when I wake up the next morning I very often can't remember the last chapter that I read before nodding off. With some books this doesn't matter -- indeed it can be a merciful blessing -- but with Deja Vu it is no help at all, because the reader needs to be fully alert.
Since Ian is English it is no surprise to find that the book is set in England, but we are in the future. Sometimes 2012 and sometimes 2023; and, I dare say, at some other points in time also.
Before long the book develops into a chase. Saskia Brandt, a detective with a European law-enforcement agency, is pursuing David Proctor, a scientist. She wants to question him about a bomb that exploded in 2002.
The plot is fiendish complicated. Few characters are precisely who or what they seem to be; and some of them are not even who they think they are. Or once were. Or hope to be in the future. I told you -- wits needed about you. Reading the book is a bit like watching The Matrix -- consistently interesting, but you do sometimes wonder what the hell is going on.
The writing I thought was excellent. Crisp and professional, with the action being structured in scenes.
All in all, this book bodes well for the future. It is, after all, a first novel -- or at any rate a first published novel -- so it would be unreasonable to expect miracles. Even Kurt Vonnegut's first novel (Piano Player) wasn't all that hot; The Sirens of Titan was his second. And in fact Ian's blog reveals that he has recently completed his second book.
The publisher of this opus is UK Authors, a small and slightly odd outfit (at least to my jaundiced eye). Let's hope that Ian can move a little more into the mainstream with his second book. He deserves to.