Quick Book Review: Man in the Empty Suit (DNF)

The Man in the Empty Suit by Sean FerrellI love books about time travel, so a book in which a man celebrates his birthday with his younger and older selves, sounded like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I found this book too slow going.

It was quirky and the ideas were very good (he witnesses the murder of a slightly older version of himself and has to find out what happened). However, there was a lot of running around the building with younger versions of himself out to get him. There was a woman, the only non-himself present at the party, but I didn’t understand her role at all.

Also, the story was too fixated on the man and the hotel he was in, and didn’t reveal much about the further world around him (which seems to have collapsed). After 150 pages I was still not very interested in finding out who committed the murder and why, so I gave up reading.

If you’re interested, here’s the description from the publisher:

“Say you’re a time traveler and you’ve already toured the entirety of human history. After a while, the outside world might lose a little of its luster. That’s why this time traveler celebrates his birthday partying with himself. Every year, he travels to an abandoned hotel in New York City in 2071, the hundredth anniversary of his birth, and drinks twelve-year-old Scotch (lots of it) with all the other versions of who he has been and who he will be. Sure, the party is the same year after year, but at least it’s one party where he can really, well, be himself.

The year he turns 39, though, the party takes a stressful turn for the worse. Before he even makes it into the grand ballroom for a drink he encounters the body of his forty-year-old self, dead of a gunshot wound to the head. As the older versions of himself at the party point out, the onus is on him to figure out what went wrong–he has one year to stop himself from being murdered, or they’re all goners. As he follows clues that he may or may not have willingly left for himself, he discovers rampant paranoia and suspicion among his younger selves, and a frightening conspiracy among the Elders. Most complicated of all is a haunting woman possibly named Lily who turns up at the party this year, the first person besides himself he’s ever seen at the party. For the first time, he has something to lose. Here’s hoping he can save some version of his own life.”

Rating: No rating, did not finish the book

Number of pages: 306 (read to page 150)

First published: 2013, February 5th

I got this: from the publishers via Netgalley (ebook)

Genre: science fiction, time travel

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at bookhelpline.com. In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

11 Responses to Quick Book Review: Man in the Empty Suit (DNF)

  1. Leslie says:

    I agree with you on this one. I’m at about the point you stopped and don’t much care about the characters… well, they’re all the same guy. I need a little world building and a little more story. And the way this book is headed, in the end, would we even find out which self was the murderer?

    • Leeswammes says:

      Are you planning to finish the book, Leslie? I’m sort of vaguely interested in knowing if it was worth continuing, but at the time, I didn’t feel like reading the rest at all.

      • Leslie says:

        I might. It’s a pretty fast read if you don’t care about all the ruminations among the ‘selves’ and just want the plot. And I can speed up if I really want to. I would like to know the resolution… and if there isn’t one I’ll be quite annoyed. I’ll let you know. 🙂

      • Leslie says:

        Update: At about the half-way mark things pick up, relatively speaking anyway. Our man goes back in time 6 months to prevent another murder, a couple of new characters are introduced, and we get some background on Lily. I’m interested enough now to stick around mostly because I’m stubborn, but it’s taking way too long to develop a story and if it wasn’t scifi I’d be long gone.

      • Leeswammes says:

        New characters, Leslie? Wow. It sounds like it might become interesting. Thanks for the update.

  2. Charlie says:

    Maybe it doesn’t sound as ok/good now as it sounded in your short summary. Not learning about the world… you’d kind of want to with a time travel. Good point Leslie’s added about it being the same guy, I hadn’t thought of it like that. I know see exactly why you couldn’t finish it, a shame because the idea itself is great.

  3. cc says:

    Judith, just stumbled upon your site through the blog hop. Love that you don’t finish books, and announce it. fantastic! I bail too, sometimes perhaps too quickly, but it has been a rare moment that have been happy I slogged on. Actually, nothing comes to mind. Hopefully will have my own site up and running by the next hop. Cheers. Colinda

    • Leeswammes says:

      Colinda, glad you agree that books can be put away if they don’t interest you. There are so many potentially really good books in the world. Why stick with one that you’re not enjoying? I write about it so other people can see what I thought. Some of my blog readers have the same taste as me, but there are also people who will say “Oh, but what you don’t like about this book, is something I usually do like.” Or there are people who like the premise and just want to try it for themselves. So, it’s not necessarily bad publicity.

      Good luck with starting your own blog! Would love to have you at the next hop.

  4. Bev Hankins says:

    I’m disappointed to hear that you didn’t finish (and that Leslie isn’t all that thrilled either)…I just got it from the library and was looking forward to the time travel story….

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