Time Gone By

TimeGoneByTitle: Time Gone By
Author: Jan Suzukawa
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: mystery/ suspense
Length: Novella (130 pdf pages)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

A Guest Review by Feliz

Summary Review: An easy read and smoothly written, but not much of a mystery mostly due to the too-revealing blurb.

The Blurb: San Francisco P.I. Nick Cutter spent one night with the man of his dreams—and then the man disappeared. Three years later, on a routine missing-person assignment in Weller Falls, Montana, Nick is shocked to find his dream man living under the alias of Tori Tanaka.
Tori won’t talk about where he’s been or why he changed his name, but Nick soon learns that Tori fled because he witnessed a murder—and now the killer may have followed him to Weller Falls.

The Review:  Nick is a P.I. specialized in finding missing people. His experience is that most missing people don’t try too hard to remain that way, and so he is surprised how difficult it turns out to find Peter Kimura, librarian of Japanese descent, whom his casual friend Jack engaged him to root up. What’s more, the photo of Peter Kimura Jack provided him with evokes a strong response in Nick. The guy looks strangely familiar, although Nick can’t figure out why, and there’s something about Peter that arouses him to a point where he can’t resist traveling in person to Weller Falls, Montana, where Peter now lives under the name of Tori Tanaka.

As chance would have it, Nick stumbles upon Peter/ Tori almost right away; not much to his surprise, since this was bound to happen sometime anyway in a town as small as Weller Falls. But what Nick didn’t expect was Tori recognizing him – and bailing on the spot.  It takes him a while to puzzle out that Tori is, in fact, the same man who disappeared without a trace after Nick fell in love with him three years ago over the course of a single evening, a man who took Nick a long time to forget even though they hadn’t even kissed back then.

Nick waits for Tori at the back door of the library where Tori works, and gets him to agree to dinner. Tori is elusive in many ways, but at the same time he is far from averse to catch up with Nick at the point where they left off three years ago. It doesn’t take long for them to land in bed together. Tori is everything Nick hoped he would be, and the feeling seems mutual. Over the course of the next few days Nick finds himself falling deeper and deeper under Tori’s spell. But there’s still the fact that Nick lied to Tori about the reason why he came to Weller Falls, and there’s also Tori’s reluctance to tell Nick why he felt the need to go into hiding in the first place.

While trying to figure out how to come clear to Tori, Nick continues to investigate Tori’s reason for going into hiding, and discovers there has been a murder about the same time and place when and where Tori disappeared. And then a mysterious man with a gun starts lurking in the shadows at the back door of the library. Both Nick and Tori need to put their cards on the table now, and fast, if they don’t want to risk losing each other again – and for good this time.

The summary above might seem like a single huge spoiler, but if you look at the blurb, it’s really not – this is indeed what the first two thirds of the book are about. This was also the major issue I had with this book. While Nick’s investigation, his gradual revealing of facts and truths was actually nicely done, I, as the reader, knew already what he was about to discover, and so there was no trace of tension, no element of surprise left for me. The actual mystery which revolved around the murderer’s identity was so obvious it practically jumped off the pages. I couldn’t help wondering why Nick, supposedly a seasoned P.I., took so long to figure it out – it made him appear stupid. Which was also a big part of the reason I couldn’t warm up much to him, even though the story is in his 1st person POV. I couldn’t take much more to Tori either; although he was understandably under stress, his actions seemed so random and illogical that I couldn’t get much of a picture of him as a person.

The problems I had with the characterizations made me more susceptible to some more minor issues with the plot, I wouldn’t quite call them holes, rather creases – for example, the strangely convenient coincidence that had Tori running off on that infamous night, or the way he reacted to Nick’s revelation – which was totally inconsistent with his former behavior – and there was also a small paranormal element that popped up out of the blue and was, in my opinion, completely out of place.  Not that it wasn’t nicely written, quite the opposite, it was just merely a pretty, gratuitous adornment.

Speaking of gratuitous, this was also what I felt about most of the sex in the book. I found it mostly pretty much off the mill fare and a little blah; then again, this might be me being “jaded”; it might appeal more to other readers who like their smexxin’ detailed, sweet and clean.

It wasn’t that I hated this book, not at all, I just couldn’t work up much enthusiasm for it. The writing was smooth and the story, though somewhat predictable, was actually rather enjoyable. So if you’re in the mood for something nice and easy, this might be just the book for you.

The cover, though, is absolutely gorgeous, isn’t it?


Aside from owls, I love all kinds of birds, particularly the odd ones. Also dogs, Queen (the band), motorbikes and books.


  • Thanks Feliz – I read this author’s first book and it had the same issues you mentioned, plus loads of other problems, so looks like there’s not been much improvement 🙁 But yes, the cover is lovely. Oh well, maybe next time the cover and the story will match??

    • Hi Leslie,
      I haven’t read Kaminishi because it’s premise didn’t grab my interest. This one looked promising, and it wasn’t unreadable,actually, just a bit … plain. Interesting that you’d say you had the same issues with the other book. I’d be inclined to give this author’s next offer another try.

  • I was actually very tempted by this one Feliz. But the mystery where I want to scream at the main character and point him to the flashing sign – look here is your solution 🙂 is usually not my cup of tea. It tends to irritate me a lot actually. Gratuitous sex is also not something I usually enjoy. Cover IS gorgeous absolutely, but it is not enough to seduce me. Thanks for the review.

    • Hi Sirius,
      From what I gathered from your reviews,this book would rather not be to your taste or I’d be totally mistaken. It ‘d make a good “beginner” book though, for someone who’s new to m/m. I couldn’t help comparing it to an appetizer: a taste of the main course but not enough to satisfy.


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