Book Review: Call Time by Steve Jones

I was intrigued by the premise of Sliding Doors meets High Fidelity – and also keen to read something by Steve Jones who has been on my radar since the 90s. It was between downloading the book from NetGalley and reading it that I found out Steve Jones used to go out with The One Show presenter Alex Jones (not related, that would be weird / illegal) and poached an Angelina Jolie interview off her back in the day #randomfact. It also made me realise how few books I read written by blokes! Anyway – back to the book – here’s the full blurb:

Pre-order this enthralling debut novel from Channel 4 F1 presenter Steve Jones – it’s Sliding Doors meets High Fidelity.
Bob Bloomfield is, in the words of his best friend’s wife, a ‘selfish, arrogant a*sehole’, who hasn’t spent a great deal of time making friends in his 49 years on earth.But what if he could change? What if Bob could stop the very thing that has made him the man he is, the death of his younger brother, Tom in 1986. If he could save Tom, could he save himself?. . . And what if all it took was a phone call – to his childhood self?”

The book starts with Bob – a single bloke, exactly the same age as me, with a successful career but possibly less successful private life – living between his bachelor pad and a fancy office. He heads off to a colleague’s fancy dress party – and when getting the outfit for this party comes across a retro mobile – and this is the key to the phonecalls to the past.

What happens next is all pretty far fetched (but time travelling stories don’t tend to be ‘real life’!!) but makes you question if you could make a phonecall back in time to change something – what effects could that have on how other things, other people’s lives etc turn out?

There are then a few different entwined iterations of the story encompassing Bob / Robert and his family and friends (and someone who is a friend of sorts in one timeline and family in another!)

Whilst the original Bob is not very likeable, you definitely find yourself rooting for him as the book progresses.

It’s very clever and enjoyable. Overall a fun, escapist read.

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGallet for my ARC – it came out this week on 11 May 2023.