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The Next Time I Die

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The mind-bending NEW THRILLER from the two-time Anthony Award-winning author of TWISTED CITY. DYING WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING. Steven Blitz didn't think about his own safety when he saw the man trying to force a woman into his car. He stepped in to defend her, and got a knife to the gut for his troubles. But when he wakes up in the hospital from what should have been a fatal The mind-bending NEW THRILLER from the two-time Anthony Award-winning author of TWISTED CITY. DYING WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING. Steven Blitz didn't think about his own safety when he saw the man trying to force a woman into his car. He stepped in to defend her, and got a knife to the gut for his troubles. But when he wakes up in the hospital from what should have been a fatal wound, he finds the whole world changed - a different president in the White House, a loving family when he'd been on the verge of divorce, more money in the bank than he's ever seen. There's a dark side, though: in this world, Steven Blitz is not a good man. And now he's got to get himself out of serious trouble without even knowing what it is he's done wrong. A paranoid thriller in the mind-bending tradition of Philip K. Dick and The Twilight Zone, THE NEXT TIME I DIE will draw you into its claustrophobic web of suspense and leave you questioning everything you think you know. "Jason Starr is the first writer of his generation to convincingly update the modern crime novel by giving it provocative new spins." --Bret Easton Ellis


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The mind-bending NEW THRILLER from the two-time Anthony Award-winning author of TWISTED CITY. DYING WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING. Steven Blitz didn't think about his own safety when he saw the man trying to force a woman into his car. He stepped in to defend her, and got a knife to the gut for his troubles. But when he wakes up in the hospital from what should have been a fatal The mind-bending NEW THRILLER from the two-time Anthony Award-winning author of TWISTED CITY. DYING WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING. Steven Blitz didn't think about his own safety when he saw the man trying to force a woman into his car. He stepped in to defend her, and got a knife to the gut for his troubles. But when he wakes up in the hospital from what should have been a fatal wound, he finds the whole world changed - a different president in the White House, a loving family when he'd been on the verge of divorce, more money in the bank than he's ever seen. There's a dark side, though: in this world, Steven Blitz is not a good man. And now he's got to get himself out of serious trouble without even knowing what it is he's done wrong. A paranoid thriller in the mind-bending tradition of Philip K. Dick and The Twilight Zone, THE NEXT TIME I DIE will draw you into its claustrophobic web of suspense and leave you questioning everything you think you know. "Jason Starr is the first writer of his generation to convincingly update the modern crime novel by giving it provocative new spins." --Bret Easton Ellis

30 review for The Next Time I Die

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Jason Starr's The Next Time I Die might as well be called When Capra's It's A Wonderful Life meets Jim Thompson. Buckle up. You are going for a ride. And the way this is plotted takes you slowly into the maelstrom and Starr keeps upping the ante little by little. First, the divorce demands that come out of nowhere. Then, the stabbing. Then, well, just imagine what if the whole world tilted upside down and someone shook it all up. Science fiction aficionados would definitely get where Starr takes Jason Starr's The Next Time I Die might as well be called When Capra's It's A Wonderful Life meets Jim Thompson. Buckle up. You are going for a ride. And the way this is plotted takes you slowly into the maelstrom and Starr keeps upping the ante little by little. First, the divorce demands that come out of nowhere. Then, the stabbing. Then, well, just imagine what if the whole world tilted upside down and someone shook it all up. Science fiction aficionados would definitely get where Starr takes this crazy ride or the whole game of how things change so suddenly with what us known as the Butterfly Effect. Indeed, while no one wants the return of Al Gore, maybe that will work out for the best. In short, this short novel is one tasty bit of noir that will leave your head thumping against the wall.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Still

    Amazing. A cross between the usual crime thriller genre and an episode of Twilight Zone. I started this yesterday and couldn’t put it down. I mean, the pages flew by. It’s a day later & I woke up pondering what I’d read yesterday. No spoilers here. Read it or don’t -suit yourself- but this is the best psycho-thriller I’ve read in months if not years. Recommended for almost everyone- fans of Crime Thrillers, Fantasy, Philip K. Dick, and Jim Thompson. Amazing writing. Truly gifted. I hope Jason Starr m Amazing. A cross between the usual crime thriller genre and an episode of Twilight Zone. I started this yesterday and couldn’t put it down. I mean, the pages flew by. It’s a day later & I woke up pondering what I’d read yesterday. No spoilers here. Read it or don’t -suit yourself- but this is the best psycho-thriller I’ve read in months if not years. Recommended for almost everyone- fans of Crime Thrillers, Fantasy, Philip K. Dick, and Jim Thompson. Amazing writing. Truly gifted. I hope Jason Starr makes $$$$ 3 million off this. I hope he options it to Hollywood- where they will surely make a mess of it…it has to be read not seen -and makes much more than a paltry $3 million.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Despite getting off to a bit of a slow start I found this an entirely engaging mix of mind bending alternate world/butterfly effect sci-fi and the deranged criminal elements and unreliable narration of a Jim Thompson novel. The story is dialog heavy and the pages fly by. Despite the dark nature of events and pervasive paranoia of the protagonist the story manages to maintain a surprisingly buoyant tone thanks to the protagonist's perceptions of reality which may or may not be wholly delusional. Despite getting off to a bit of a slow start I found this an entirely engaging mix of mind bending alternate world/butterfly effect sci-fi and the deranged criminal elements and unreliable narration of a Jim Thompson novel. The story is dialog heavy and the pages fly by. Despite the dark nature of events and pervasive paranoia of the protagonist the story manages to maintain a surprisingly buoyant tone thanks to the protagonist's perceptions of reality which may or may not be wholly delusional. The author crafts an interesting spin on parallel worlds theory, tying the notion of multiple parallel universes and human consciousness together in an intriguing and unique way. Highly recommended to both sci-fi and crime fiction fans, and especially to fans of both like me, for whom this should really hit a sweet spot!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael Burke

    Reading the blurbs now I see Philip K. Dick and The Twilight Zone as references. I really only knew of Jason Starr as a writer recommended by author Ken Bruen. I love Bruen’s work, have read dozens of his books, and expected a traditional hard-boiled-private-eye sort of thing. Things started off normal enough– until the world flipped upside down. The world is a hall of mirrors to Stephen Blitz. One night his wife runs him out of the house demanding a divorce, he narrowly avoids a car crash, and t Reading the blurbs now I see Philip K. Dick and The Twilight Zone as references. I really only knew of Jason Starr as a writer recommended by author Ken Bruen. I love Bruen’s work, have read dozens of his books, and expected a traditional hard-boiled-private-eye sort of thing. Things started off normal enough– until the world flipped upside down. The world is a hall of mirrors to Stephen Blitz. One night his wife runs him out of the house demanding a divorce, he narrowly avoids a car crash, and then is fatally wounded trying to save a woman he had never met. He wakes up in a hospital (now) having crashed his car but is no longer fatally wounded… and his loving wife is at his side. Everyone in the world is acting differently and apparently colluding in some conspiracy to trick him, a fairly common Twilight Zone theme. Stephen also discovers he is a little less of a decent human being than he thought he was. “...This version of me has made some bad decisions…” Changes are not limited to Stephen’s life. Like any good “butterfly effect” story there are alterations in the world, as well. Al Gore is president and Donald Trump can not run for office, as he is serving twenty years for sexual assault. There are other differences– but the plot revolves around a murder that Stephen in this reality had something to do with. “The Next Time I Die” is an enjoyable quick summer read with pretty recognizable plot twists. Thank you to Hard Case Crime and Edelweiss for providing an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    Imagine every decision you make - or, perhaps more importantly, every choice you don't take - creating an alternate reality, one of limitless possibility. Maybe you stop for coffee, or maybe you don't. In one reality, you've prolonged a barista's day, setting off a chain of cause and effect for both of you. In another, you continue on your way and maybe avoid an angry confrontation or coffeehouse shoot-up. Or, for attorney Steven Blitz, you find yourself kicked out of your house by your angry wi Imagine every decision you make - or, perhaps more importantly, every choice you don't take - creating an alternate reality, one of limitless possibility. Maybe you stop for coffee, or maybe you don't. In one reality, you've prolonged a barista's day, setting off a chain of cause and effect for both of you. In another, you continue on your way and maybe avoid an angry confrontation or coffeehouse shoot-up. Or, for attorney Steven Blitz, you find yourself kicked out of your house by your angry wife demanding a divorce. Driving in a snowstorm, Blitz narrowly avoids skidding off the road and colliding with a tree, only to find himself stabbed to death in a gas station parking lot. One moment, he's bleeding out in the snow, and in the next he's waking up in the hospital...in a different reality. Jason Starr's The Next Time I Die imagines a multiverse of noir madness, feeling a bit like an inverted Regarding Henry by way of The Butterfly Effect, filtered through The Twilight Zone. Steven Blitz Prime wakes up to find the world of 2020 remarkably different than the one he left. There's no COVID-19 pandemic, for starters. Facebook doesn't exist, and nobody knows what an iPhone is. Donald Trump was never president because he was convicted in 2014 on three counts of sexual assault and sentenced to 20 years in Sing Sing. This alternate reality almost sounds too good to be true! Enter the anonymous text messages warning Blitz that they know what he's done, a pile-up of affairs Alt-Blitz has been having, and a man he knows to be a serial killer in his reality on the loose and active in this strange new world. Starr does a fantastic job building up this mirror universe, keeping things relatable but just enough off-kilter to put an interesting spin on, and heighten, Blitz's paranoia. Blitz is literally thrust into a completely different realm, stuck in situations he has no comprehension of, no memory of, and little certainty of who he can trust, let alone himself, or rather "himself," as the Blitz body he now inhabits has made some rather different choices along the way and Blitz Prime is left to suffer the consequences. The Next Time I Die is a thoroughly engaging page-turner, but I have to admit I did find some of the melodrama surrounding 9/11 a bit much. In the world Blitz wakes up in, bin Laden's devastating attack on the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon didn't happen, and the Twin Towers still stand proudly as a fixture of the New York skyline. For whatever reason, though, Blitz is concerned about Mohammed Atta being an active student at a Florida flight school and seems convinced that the attack is imminent, even nearly 20 years removed. It's the kind of story thread that feels a bit too little, too late, particularly in context of the world Blitz finds himself in. To top it off, there's no payoff to his efforts to stop an attack that never actually happened in this mirror world, which makes the amount of pages Starr spends on this diversion all the more befuddling, particularly when set against the more pressing issues of present-day murders Blitz finds himself at the center of. At times, Blitz comes across as a Johnny Smith type, from Stephen King's The Dead Zone, only he has the power to tell you things that never actually happened in this alt reality! Part of the fun, though, is in how much he comes across as a lunatic to others, even if it wears thin in some spots, and even as it raises the question of just how sane and credible Blitz really is in any reality. The Next Time I Die is fun little paranoid thriller with an intriguing multidimensional twist that helps raise the bar on some otherwise familiar tropes, particularly the amnesiac protagonist. Blitz isn't just lost in circumstances beyond his control in his world - he's lost in all of them.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    Reeling from the sudden news that his wife wants a divorce, Steven Blitz is thrown out of his house and told to stay with his brother. On his drive over, with deteriorating road conditions, Steven narrowly avoids a head-on collision. Rattled, Steven pulls over to gather himself and calm his nerves when he notices an altercation between a man and a woman. Attempting to intervene, Steven is stabbed in the gut and left to bleed out on the ground. Sometime later, Blitz awakens in a hospital bed, surp Reeling from the sudden news that his wife wants a divorce, Steven Blitz is thrown out of his house and told to stay with his brother. On his drive over, with deteriorating road conditions, Steven narrowly avoids a head-on collision. Rattled, Steven pulls over to gather himself and calm his nerves when he notices an altercation between a man and a woman. Attempting to intervene, Steven is stabbed in the gut and left to bleed out on the ground. Sometime later, Blitz awakens in a hospital bed, surprised to have survived what surely should have been a fatal injury. But not everything is as it should be. His wife appears at his beside, relieved to hear of his survival. She brings in their daughter, which is especially shocking considering they do not have children. His phone is filled with unrecognizable texts and it’s not even the phone he remembers owning. He turns on the TV to find that the world is on the brink of nuclear war, but President Al Gore is determined to relax tensions. It would be an understatement to suggest things get stranger from here on out. I was lucky enough to find myself with an advanced copy of Hard Case Crime’s upcoming original release, THE NEXT TIME I DIE. Having sung the praises of James Kestral’s Hard Case Crime release FIVE DECEMBERS last year, I heard equally as good things about Jason Starr’s new novel. I can wholeheartedly agree with all the positive praise as this one knocked my socks off. I am truly a sucker for alternate reality/butterfly effect fiction. Two of my favorite novels of the last few years were Blake Crouch’s DARK MATTER and RECURSION and I can guarantee that if you’re a fan of those books, you will absolutely love this one. It’s not often that I finish a book in under 48 hours, but with Jason Starr’s new novel, every spare moment I had was spent glued to my Kindle. I loved the scenes where Steven would try to explain to others what he was experiencing. The fact that there was literally no way to convey to friends or family the depths of his confusion had me empathizing with his anxiety and frustration. He was consistently backed into a corner, left without a moment’s rest as he would try to navigate conversations about people or events he had absolutely no memory of. THE NEXT TIME I DIE is a mind-bending fever dream of a novel; a story that had me gripped from beginning to end. It is a truly exceptional blend of Twilight Zone-inspired weirdness and classic noir storytelling.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Yigal Zur

    4.5 easily. brilliant. so different. original. a noir which really fly to other dimensions.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    Part social satire, part noir thriller, part twisted Twilight Zone-esque mind bender. It's funny, sharp and super-suspenseful. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Part social satire, part noir thriller, part twisted Twilight Zone-esque mind bender. It's funny, sharp and super-suspenseful. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

  9. 4 out of 5

    MICHAEL REED

    Like the film Yesterday, the protagonist finds himself in an alternate life. Some of this life is better, some is definitely not. Does he escape either one? You will have to read it to find out!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    The Next Time I Die is an interesting story about a guy who wakes up in a hospital after being stabbed to find he's in an alternate version of his life. Unfortunately he has no memory of what bad things his done in his life to that point as this alternate version of himself. The moral here is that, no matter how bad your life might seem, it could have been worse, depending on the decisions you've made to that point. The Next Time I Die is an interesting story about a guy who wakes up in a hospital after being stabbed to find he's in an alternate version of his life. Unfortunately he has no memory of what bad things his done in his life to that point as this alternate version of himself. The moral here is that, no matter how bad your life might seem, it could have been worse, depending on the decisions you've made to that point.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sean McGurr

    The good people at Hard Case Crime sent me an advanced reader copy of their latest publication, Jason Starr's The Next Time I Die. I've read 99% of the Hard Case Crime books and this is definitely a slight change of pace for them. The protagonist, a lawyer preparing for his opening arguments in defense of a serial killer, is kicked out of his house by his wife, who says she never loved him and is having an affair with another woman. The lawyer narrowly avoids a bad accident, and when he gets inv The good people at Hard Case Crime sent me an advanced reader copy of their latest publication, Jason Starr's The Next Time I Die. I've read 99% of the Hard Case Crime books and this is definitely a slight change of pace for them. The protagonist, a lawyer preparing for his opening arguments in defense of a serial killer, is kicked out of his house by his wife, who says she never loved him and is having an affair with another woman. The lawyer narrowly avoids a bad accident, and when he gets involved in a domestic dispute at a gas station is stabbed. He is surprised when he wakes up in a hospital alive, without a stab wound and with a loving wife and daughter, and a President Gore and standing Twin Towers. This starts a noirish look at alternate universes and whether or not the person you are in each universe is inherently good or bad. Starr's writing, as always, is engaging and propulsive. While not in the exact same vein as a typical Hard Case Crime book, I still recommend it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    I received an advanced copy of this book from Hard Case Crime with the understanding that I would post a review here or elsewhere. There very likely will be spoilers because I'm not sure I can say much without some spoilers. This is the story of a lawyer who is having a bad week. His wife, at the beginning, throws him out, he is later stabbed in the gut by a stranger who was abusing a woman. When he wakes up he is in an alternate reality. He is now a rich lawyer, with over $2 million in is investm I received an advanced copy of this book from Hard Case Crime with the understanding that I would post a review here or elsewhere. There very likely will be spoilers because I'm not sure I can say much without some spoilers. This is the story of a lawyer who is having a bad week. His wife, at the beginning, throws him out, he is later stabbed in the gut by a stranger who was abusing a woman. When he wakes up he is in an alternate reality. He is now a rich lawyer, with over $2 million in is investment accounts, (How is anyone supposed to sympathize with this guy?) wears designer jeans and tee shirts. His wife still loves him, and he has a 6 year old daughter he didn't have before. In this alternate reality he turns out to be a douche bag: sleeping with the baby sitter, and a co-worker. Well you are not supposed to sympathize with him. He murders other people before story end, and he is also murdered again and goes to another reality, and apparently this begins an infinite wheel of one bad reality after another. Don't look for sequels. There shouldn't be any. It is page 200 more or less, of a 256 page book, before we start getting to the payoff for this story, beginning with a new character who is apparently murdered to move the plot. Before the end of the first chapter, I began to get impatient with this story. I thought the fight with the wife went on too long. And later when the lawyer was in the hospital, I thought that scene went on too long as well. We get it. His memories are different from what his doctor, wife, and law partner are telling him. Move on. I looked up Jason Starr(pen name?) on Amazon. He has been published a lot, so he has some idea of what he is doing. I found the story a bit tedious and after page 200, I skipped to the end then skimmed it backward. I should have gone to the Hard Case Crime web site and read the sample chapter, and you should too. That chapter would be enough to make a purchase decision.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Howard Cohen

    I received this ARC from the publisher. A cross between The Twilight Zone and noir, this soon to be published book capitalizes on the current interest in the Multiverse. Steven Blitz, the protagonist, jumps from multiverse to multiverse, told in the first person. The author posits that a person's basic nature would be constant in the the various multiverses, even if they were good or bad, rich or poor, based on varying circumstances. For example, a psychopath would be a psychopath in all the diff I received this ARC from the publisher. A cross between The Twilight Zone and noir, this soon to be published book capitalizes on the current interest in the Multiverse. Steven Blitz, the protagonist, jumps from multiverse to multiverse, told in the first person. The author posits that a person's basic nature would be constant in the the various multiverses, even if they were good or bad, rich or poor, based on varying circumstances. For example, a psychopath would be a psychopath in all the different universes. The story moves quickly, and I read it in less than a day. Events take place in 2020, so the author has some fun with political alternatives. The narrator is not particularly likeable. I enjoyed the story and will consider reading other books by Jason Starr, but took one star off because I do have some quibbles with the story. While Blitz guesses at how this is happening to him, we never learn how, and there is a mystical element suggested but never fully explained.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alan Rainey

    I got a chance to read an advance copy of this book (thank you!). Usually I am not a fan of any sort of fantasy or sci-fi, but I am a huge fan of Jason Starr's books and will read anything he writes. That includes his books about werewolves (The Pack), which is a subject I would generally avoid, but I loved his take on it. I can't put my finger on it, but in his books the narrative always pulls me in because no matter where it goes, the stories are grounded in reality and I can always relate to t I got a chance to read an advance copy of this book (thank you!). Usually I am not a fan of any sort of fantasy or sci-fi, but I am a huge fan of Jason Starr's books and will read anything he writes. That includes his books about werewolves (The Pack), which is a subject I would generally avoid, but I loved his take on it. I can't put my finger on it, but in his books the narrative always pulls me in because no matter where it goes, the stories are grounded in reality and I can always relate to the characters and their situation. TNTID is about a man stuck between 2 realities of his life that diverged when he stepped in to save a girl from a stabbing. We go along with our guy Steven as he tries to navigate the familiar yet different threads of his life and as he tries to figure out his new reality of no President Donald Trump, no 9/11, no Netflix. Oh yeah, his previous, not so perfect behavior in his strange new timeline. Jason Starr writes a lot of of crime fiction (Cold Caller was the one that hooked me), and this story includes a serial killer, buried bodies, and infidelities, so it felt very familiar. I loved this book and can't recommend it highly enough!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sansabark

    First novel in years that I started and finished in the same day. An interesting premise for a crime novel that barrels along without letting up.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    I received an advance reader copy of this novel from the folks at Hard Case Crime in exchange for an honest review. Jason Starr’s male characters want you to know that they’re good guys. Really, they are. They might do a couple of not so nice things, like murder and thievery. But really, they’re good guys. They just happen to be in bad circumstances. It’s not they’re fault. Ok, maybe it is a little. But still, they’re good…hey, wait, where are you going? Starr wasn’t one of my favorite writers wh I received an advance reader copy of this novel from the folks at Hard Case Crime in exchange for an honest review. Jason Starr’s male characters want you to know that they’re good guys. Really, they are. They might do a couple of not so nice things, like murder and thievery. But really, they’re good guys. They just happen to be in bad circumstances. It’s not they’re fault. Ok, maybe it is a little. But still, they’re good…hey, wait, where are you going? Starr wasn’t one of my favorite writers when I began diving into his catalogue; I found his books to be too unsettling. I don’t know if my tastes adjusted or if I just came to appreciate his work more but now I look forward to reading him, even if I need to give my brain a shower when I’m done. This is a kind of multiverse story where a man named Steven gets seriously (perhaps mortally?) wounded, falls down a rabbit hole and comes out on the other end in a parallel universe where his life is different in subtle but critical ways. His wife acts different, he parents a daughter instead of being childless, and he’s having multiple affairs he wasn’t having in his previous life. (An aside but an important one: I want to live in this man’s version of the United States. Al Gore was President, 9/11 and the coronavirus both didn’t happen, the fiscal crisis was in 2015 instead of 2008 but isn’t as bad as that year’s recession, Donald Trump never becomes President and is in jail. And since 9/11 didn’t happen, the Twin Towers exist. The scene where Steven is just wandering around the old World Trade Center in a state of awe felt like a love letter to their existence. I’ve read so many stories where the Towers coming down was a plot point; here, it just felt nice for them to be again. The scene lasts 4-5 pages and they’re 4-5 of the best pages I’ve read in 2022.) In previous works, Starr used noir tropes effectively to show how thin the line is between what’s considered “good” and “bad” behavior; especially how men will manipulate situations to justify them. Here he does it with time travel and does it well. Steven seems like a good enough guy when he falls into the other universe but he does terrible things. On top of it, in the other universe, he’s defending a serial killer on trial. In the alternate one, he’s not but still runs into the guy, trying to prove he’s a killer. What’s good, right, moral, etc. become interchangeable at Steven’s whims. If you’re expecting a deep dive Blake Crouch-esque sci-fi story, you’ll be disappointed. This is the kind of crime tale Starr tells, only instead of amnesia, the man has a previous life in a different version of this universe. Slowly but surely, it’s revealed that he’s a criminal, caught in troublesome circumstances. How he resolves these circumstances: clinging to his past life while realizing his present one lives “multiple lives” in the affairs he has, is pure crime/bleak comedy gold. And the end is deliciously noir. Jason Starr is a star. This is a book you should check out.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Terrance Layhew

    Rapid paced with twists and turns around every corner. The Next Time I Die will keep you guessing throughout the story, ending in a sublime way in the classic tradition of mind bending thrillers like The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Benson

    I received an advanced reading copy from Hard Case (thank you kindly!) and as part of a promise to the publisher and the very talented author, I shall give my thoughts. Where to begin? The story starts off with a seemingly cool headed Steven Blitz, working on his latest case when his wife confronts and demands for divorce. Not one to surrender his focus, he is shaken out of his bubble and is suddenly confronted by his unmedicated wife and (in his eyes) her unreasonable and illogical thoughts and I received an advanced reading copy from Hard Case (thank you kindly!) and as part of a promise to the publisher and the very talented author, I shall give my thoughts. Where to begin? The story starts off with a seemingly cool headed Steven Blitz, working on his latest case when his wife confronts and demands for divorce. Not one to surrender his focus, he is shaken out of his bubble and is suddenly confronted by his unmedicated wife and (in his eyes) her unreasonable and illogical thoughts and actions. Pleading, perhaps even coping, he reassures himself the task of saving his marriage and finding out who his wife, Laura, is having an affair with. When the fight becomes heated, he decides to leave and drive to his brother's house. Stress and anger build within and tension leads him to stop off at a petrol station for a sneaky pack of cigarettes. He spots a couple there, an older man and a younger woman, tense and in an altercation. His subsequent involvement leads him into a tussle that results in him being stabbed and awakes in a hospital bed. Eager to find out if the police have any more information on the incident, Steven is shocked to find his wife, Laura, loving and delicate, with the addition of a daughter, Lilly, a sweet and loving six year old. The only problem is, his belly is scar-less and he doesn't have a daughter. From then on, Steven is taken on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, finding bits and bobs of information. Nuggets of his life that he doesn't recall or finds totally out of character. Constantly probed by everyone that he is suffering from memory loss, Steven must grapple with a world changed and people who are seemingly more normal than he is. From the second chapter onwards, it is a head spin of an alternate universe. Where Al Gore was defeated in 2000, he is president in 2020. The rest I will leave to the readers, trust me, the little bits of alternate universe possibilities will make you giggle or wish it were true in some way. Part noir, part thriller, part satire, part mystery. Leaning on the story's subtle hints and nuggets, to me, the beautiful warp and thrilling suspense really melded well with the narrator's unabashed claim of innocence and his reasoning behind (his) logical thinking and ways of problem solving. What was even more thrilling was the added touch of the client/murder, Hammond, the spin and dizzying selection of characters resembling others or having faint de ja vu connections to Steven's "previous life". Quite haunting is the line, "I saw you, Steven Blitz." Ladies and gentlemen, this was a page turner, the first time I have read a book in one day, the first one being 256 pages! I clung to every page and was not bored once. Great flow, good suspense, and a damn fine conclusion that drew a thought on poor Steven. To what lengths will we go to cope with loss, challenge, yearning and perceived selfishness of others and ourselves? Moreover, what lengths will we go to justify in order to make innocent the sins of our past, present and future? "I saw you, Steven Blitz". P.S. If the author reads this review, or anyone really, I think this would make a great movie, short film, independent or otherwise, perhaps even a mini series of three episodes. The thought of this through the lens of a film lends itself with a great intensity. Just a heads up! :)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mark Miano

    I've read and followed Jason Starr's writing for years. He epitomizes what I consider to be true "noir" crime fiction, something that most people today confuse with "hardboiled" stories about wisecracking tough guy PIs. Starr's stories often start with a loser and the reader follows him down a path to complete and utter destruction. There are no happy endings. The stories leave this reader feeling a bit sick. And yet, they're tight, fast reads that are so brilliant, I can't get enough of them. T I've read and followed Jason Starr's writing for years. He epitomizes what I consider to be true "noir" crime fiction, something that most people today confuse with "hardboiled" stories about wisecracking tough guy PIs. Starr's stories often start with a loser and the reader follows him down a path to complete and utter destruction. There are no happy endings. The stories leave this reader feeling a bit sick. And yet, they're tight, fast reads that are so brilliant, I can't get enough of them. THE NEXT TIME I DIE is a near-classic. While Starr has of late veered into more occult, horror, fantasy worlds (in this case, a guy who dies and comes back to life in a strange variation of his former one), the basic elements of a brilliant noir tale are here, and I couldn't put it down. In my opinion, Starr is up there with Goodis, Thompson, Highsmith, and the other noir titans. He is that great, and he's been so his entire career.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Twisty and effective noir fiction. When Steven stops at a gas station and witnesses a woman being abused, he steps in and is stabbed by the abuser. He wakes up in a hospital room in a new reality with a loving wife and daughter, when he was on the verge of divorce and childless in his previous life. History and popular culture are different as well. Along with Steven, we learn surprising things about his life in both timelines, and nothing is necessarily as it appears. I couldn't put this one do Twisty and effective noir fiction. When Steven stops at a gas station and witnesses a woman being abused, he steps in and is stabbed by the abuser. He wakes up in a hospital room in a new reality with a loving wife and daughter, when he was on the verge of divorce and childless in his previous life. History and popular culture are different as well. Along with Steven, we learn surprising things about his life in both timelines, and nothing is necessarily as it appears. I couldn't put this one down.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    This isn’t a four star book. It is either five stars or three stars. Both are equally true it seems.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    Excellent read. Full review to come.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mike Hughes

    Perfect and just what I've come to expect from Starr. Great book Perfect and just what I've come to expect from Starr. Great book

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sean Branson

    Who's the real Steven Blitz? I had the good fortune to receive an ARC from Hard Case Crime and, as usual, I wasn't disappointed. This mind-bending page-turner kept me engaged throughout. Stuck in the mind of Steven Blitz as he faced his new and unexpected reality, it was interesting to see how he changed and what he was capable of. My only complaint is that it wrapped up quickly with loose ends, but I suppose that's because I enjoy finality in my stories. Who's the real Steven Blitz? I had the good fortune to receive an ARC from Hard Case Crime and, as usual, I wasn't disappointed. This mind-bending page-turner kept me engaged throughout. Stuck in the mind of Steven Blitz as he faced his new and unexpected reality, it was interesting to see how he changed and what he was capable of. My only complaint is that it wrapped up quickly with loose ends, but I suppose that's because I enjoy finality in my stories.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Claudette Gabbs

    What an great read. Fast paced. Good story. Because this is a review copy, you can read my full review on my blog. Review: https://rottiegirl-2.blogspot.com/202... What an great read. Fast paced. Good story. Because this is a review copy, you can read my full review on my blog. Review: https://rottiegirl-2.blogspot.com/202...

  26. 4 out of 5

    J. Patrick

    Overall interesting premise. I couldn’t put it down. But the writing is very simple and not that interesting. Also the main character takes forever to figure things out. Overall can’t say that I loved it, but I did like it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sawanna Davis

    I was able to get an advanced copy of this book. Very interesting read for the most part. The narrator was unlikable for me the whole time I wanted him to just think for a moment about his situation instead of running full on into another mistake, but when you think your smarter than everyone else this is what happens. Fast read one could get it done in a day. Paced really well. I can see some elements of Twilight Zone but it falls flat in some of the build up by dragging out plot points I care l I was able to get an advanced copy of this book. Very interesting read for the most part. The narrator was unlikable for me the whole time I wanted him to just think for a moment about his situation instead of running full on into another mistake, but when you think your smarter than everyone else this is what happens. Fast read one could get it done in a day. Paced really well. I can see some elements of Twilight Zone but it falls flat in some of the build up by dragging out plot points I care less about. I did enjoy the mystery and plotting along with narrator about what could be happening to him and by the end I had figure out the big picture (what happened to his original wife) but did not see his own demise coming.

  28. 5 out of 5

    James

    Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from Hard Case Crime in exchange for this review. Much of the key to this book is the pacing. It keeps you unsettled right along with the protagonist. It’s done well so that you feel what the protagonist feels and it moves the story right along with each twist. It didn’t help that I was working with a client who was also off balance. Then there’s the ethical dilemmas throughout. I kept thinking that this book would be useful for a class on ethics. I like the Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from Hard Case Crime in exchange for this review. Much of the key to this book is the pacing. It keeps you unsettled right along with the protagonist. It’s done well so that you feel what the protagonist feels and it moves the story right along with each twist. It didn’t help that I was working with a client who was also off balance. Then there’s the ethical dilemmas throughout. I kept thinking that this book would be useful for a class on ethics. I like the idea of using fiction to teach. Overall, this was an enjoyable, fun read. I’ll return to read more of what Mr. Starr writes. And I thank Hard Case Crime.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Donna Thompson

    I LOVED this book. What a wild ride. I couldn't read this fast enough. You have to experience this for yourself. A totally unique and brilliant book. I LOVED this book. What a wild ride. I couldn't read this fast enough. You have to experience this for yourself. A totally unique and brilliant book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    What a great read! Mix up noir elements with a dash of sci-fi and enjoy.

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