Book Review: Escapement

26 Jul

Mattie Bigham has lost his job, is losing his wife, and is not losing any weight. At just under four hundred and fifty pounds, he figures his doctor’s prediction that he’s going to drop dead any second is about to come true. He is right.

When Thomas Constant appears, Mattie chooses murder—to carry out revenge on the bully who tormented him all through school. Except when he arrives for the showdown, he’s shocked to find this man in a scenario not unlike his own. Things get complicated quickly, and time is running out.

The clock is ticking. What will you do with the time you have left?






Rene Gutteridge is the author of seventeen novels, including her latest releases, HEART OF THE COUNTRY, ESCAPEMENT, POSSESSION and LISTEN, from Tyndale House Publishers. Her other suspense titles include, THE SPLITTING STORM, STORM GATHERING and STORM SURGE, plus her very first novel, GHOST WRITER (Bethany House Publishers). She is also known as a comedy writer. Her latest comedic novel is NEVER THE BRIDE (winner of the 2010 Carol Award for best women’s fiction), co-written with screenwriter Cheryl McKay (of The Ultimate Gift).

Her other comedy titles from WaterBrook/Multnomah Publishers include The BOO SERIES: Boo, Boo Who, Boo Hiss, Boo Humbug and THE OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS SERIES; (Scoop, Snitch, Skid). Another very popular comedy title is MY LIFE AS A DOORMAT, a Women of Faith selection for 2006, from Thomas Nelson. She has written one novelization, THE ULTIMATE GIFT, for Thomas Nelson.

She also has extensive experience writing comedy sketches, and worked for five years as the director of drama for a church. She has a degree specializing in Screenwriting, for which she earned the Excellence in Mass Communication Award, and graduated magna cum laude.

She is married to Sean, a musician and worship leader, and has two children. They reside in Oklahoma, where Rene writes full time and enjoys instructing in college classrooms and writers conferences.

My Impressions:

7 Hours is an anthology of 7 full length novellas by 7 different authors.  Each story has a central theme — time and our place in it — and examines what a character does when faced with the choice of dying or 7 more hours.  In Escapement, Rene Gutteridge takes Matthew on a journey to confront the childhood bully that he blames for many of the problems in his adult life. Matthew is morbidly overweight, unemployed and his wife has filed for divorce. His doctor warns of an imminent heart attack  without some major life changes. When he opens the door to Thomas Constant, time personified, he is faced with his mortality.  He chooses to live 7 more hours to right the wrong that was done to him so many years ago.

Escapement is written from Matthew’s point of view.  He doesn’t sugar coat his own culpability in the decisions he has made, but does place a lot of blame on his childhood nemesis, Abbott.  His plans for vengeance take shape as he travels to Wichita from Oklahoma City, but when he arrives at Abbott’s home, Matthew is the one who is confronted.  Matthew is forced to examine his life and death in a whole new light.

I enjoyed Escapement.  Because of its length the action takes place quickly, yet I never thought that the characters were flat. Matthew, Abbott and Rosemary (a surprise character for Matthew) are given a depth that is often hard to achieve in a novella.  Gutteridge is one of my favorites, and Escapement just reinforces my opinion of her skill in writing thoughtful and suspenseful stories.  The premise of the book is intriguing, and I cannot wait to see how the other authors handle Thomas Constant and his offer of death or 7 more hours.


For more information on the 7 Hours anthology, click HERE.

(I received Escapement from NetGalley and Tyndale in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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