I picked up an advance reader’s copy of Pandora’s Clock by John J. Nance at a garage sale last month. I thought it sounded like a good story, so I got it. And I read it (finished earlier this week). It was only after I got it home and had begun reading it that I realized it was originally published (this ARC is for the hardcover, first edition) in 1995. I’ve linked above to the newest paperback, since Amazon doesn’t have any of the hardcover in stock.
Since it was an ARC, I had this disorienting feeling when this “suspense thriller” mentioned technology. The CIA still using dot matrix printers? No on on a huge 747-400 has a normal cell phone? It’s necessary to explain PDAs to the reader? Pay phones are still available and in use? What’s all that about? But then I realize, this book came out in the mid-1990s. I didn’t have a cell phone in 1995, and I don’t think I knew anyone who did. OK, maybe that’s all fine. The dot matrix, though, I’m still questioning. I know people still used dot matrix printers in the mid-90s, but I’m doubtful that the CIA still used them then. Good laser printers existed then, and they weren’t all that expensive. OK, enough of that.
I could certainly tell that it was an ARC — there were errors in the text that otherwise would be wholly surprising from a Doubleday book.
This was a quick read. The story places an professor on a jumbo jet bound for New York from Frankfurt, Germany, a couple days before Christmas. He’s been, apparently, infected with a scary virus, which killed the two other people who had it. Add in recirculated airplane air, a renegade operation within the CIA that’s joined forces with what looks like a terrorist plot, and one or two burgeoning relationships, along with several interesting characters aboard the plane, and you’ve got this book.
Here’s Nance’s website.