For Keeps by Aaron Paul Lazar

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When retired family doctor Sam Moore’s old girlfriend is murdered in a local hotel, the police suspect his involvement. The coroner, a former med school colleague whose husband is about to desert her, reveals that she had a crush on Sam in med school. When she is strangled the next day in her own morgue, Sam is once again in the hot seat.

Sam’s world falls apart when he returns home to find a family member killed in the laundry room, stabbed with his own garden shears. Rocketed into a world of denial and temporary insanity, Sam faces his worst fear, and is locked up in the very same psych ward he was in when his brother Bill died fifty years ago. Sam is determined to ask his long dead brother to help him. Billy, who communicates through a little green marble, has the ability to propel Sam through time and has helped Sam unwrap baffling mysteries in the past.

Sam’s plan: to change time, and bring his loved one back to life.  (-synopsis from Goodreads)

I found this book to be a quick and mostly enjoyable read.  The book opens with Sam being called to a murder scene where he recognizes the victim as an old fling from spring break.  Soon Sam is a suspect in the murder and unfortunately there’s more death to come.

Sam is a likeable character who is completely devoted to his wife, Rachel.  Rachel is bound to a wheelchair because she has MS.  Rachel is a very level headed character who is both sweet and realistic.  They have two children, Andy and Beth.  Andy is the father of two rambunctious boys and has been away at war.  Beth is a single mother who is gay.  I enjoyed the variation of the characters and the well developed backgrounds.

After the murder of his old fling, Sam feels the green marble in his pocket glow with warmth.  The marble is his connection to his brother Billy.  Billy passed away as a child but now is connected to Sam by the green marble.  Whenever he needs to see the past, Billy is able to whisk Sam away to see details needed to help him figure out what is going on in the present.

I found the time travel element to interesting.  However, I almost immediately knew who the killer was because of the time travel.  It was easy to figure out though the reason why the person killed was not.   

There were several ups and downs in the story which kept my interest.  In the end there were 3 murder victims, each one more devastating then the last.  After the third murder Sam is so upset that he winds up in the hospital under a doctors care.  While his family and the doctors try taking care of him all he can think about is going back in the past to change what has happened.

I found the time traveling and the changing of the past to be a little too far fetched.  It was interesting to see how each travel backwards changed the future but I thought it lessened the credibility of the story to a point.  

In all I enjoyed the book.  It was a quick, light, and fun read.

To connect with Aaron Paul Lazar visit his website

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

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