Shifts in Time, Tense Make for Challenging "Admission"
- Cheryl Russell Infuze Magazine
- 2006 5 May
Author: Travis Thrasher
Publisher: Moody Publishers
In April 1994, college senior Jake Rivers and his friends celebrate spring break and their upcoming graduation with a camping trip/drinking binge at the local forest preserve. One morning Jake awakens from his drunken stupor drenched in blood that isn't his. He doesn't remember anything of the night before and his friends refuse to talk. They return to college, and their final semester. But as graduation approaches, the secrets of that lost night claim their first victim. But not even the death of a friend will break the wall of silence. Jake and his friends scatter after graduation to begin new lives, start new careers and deep-six their messy past.
Fast forward eleven years. Claire Jelen, a young college co-ed, goes missing. She was last seen with Alec Tristam, Jake's best friend in college. Her wealthy father, Gregory Jelen, wants to hire Jake to find them. He refuses until Mr. Jelen threatens to go to the police and tell them what happened that April night in '94.
Left with no choice, Jake tracks down his old college crowd. For the most part, they maintain the silence they began eleven years earlier. As he continues his probe, someone begins to stalk Jake. Verbal threats turn to violence which escalates into attempted murder. Someone wants the past to stay buried and Alec to remain unfound. When the stalker threatens his old college flame Alyssa, Jake must decide if the truth is worth the pursuit.
The spiritual thread in "Admission" is subtle. Jake undergoes a dramatic transformation in those eleven years, but we aren't really told why. A few hints are dangled throughout the story, but never explained. It was a bit frustrating, because I felt like missed out on what made Jake, Jake.
"Admission" is a book that, at first, is a bit of a challenge to read because of its unusual format. The book begins in April 1994 and is written in third person. The second chapter fast forwards eleven years to January 2005 and is written in first person. This format continues throughout the book: odd numbered chapters flash back to that last six months in college and are written in third person, while the even numbered chapters leap forward eleven years and are written in first person.
The shifting points of view and the back and forth time travel made it hard to shift mental gears. But eventually the story overcame my mental gear grinding, and I found it hard to put down.
© 2006 Infuze Magazine. All rights reserved. Used with permission.