RAC RJDDaniel Athley is having a pretty rubbish day. He’s ridiculously hung over, he’s millimetres away from losing his job after having punched the boss’s son in the face, he’s probably broken his knuckles from aforementioned punch and now he’s stuck in a car with a crazy driver on his way to a job interview where he knows precisely zilch about the employer or the job role. Although he arrives at the interview without suffering a vehicular mishap, his day does not get better. He is freezing (because who would think to wear a proper coat in Geneva in the winter), he almost loses his wedding ring which would cause his incredibly neurotic wife to lose her proverbial and he spends the majority of his interview with the enigmatic Winter off his face drunk on Armagnac. How he manages to make it back home in one piece and win the job offer is frankly a mystery, and the first clue that this book will not be straightforward.
It turns out that Winter is a Counsellor (as in lawyer) who works for Le Département de la Dernière Justice and Athley is to be his clerk. The department has control of a machine named KASSI which can alter or ‘realign’ time. Governed by 25 Principles, the machine can only be used for a ‘Great Personage’, someone who could have contributed greatly to the good of the human race but who had their work cut short by death (accident or murder). So think biologist, peace maker, physicists etc. KASSI can realign time and change something which would mean the circumstances of the death do not occur and the ‘Great Personage’ can finish their work and change the course of human history for the better.
The machine however must be tightly controlled… can’t just be changing things willy-nilly. As one character says “Once you start pulling at a thread, you could risk unravelling the whole fabric” and this is where Winter and Athley come in. In order for a person to have their death realigned, the worth and the risks of this must first be examined, weighed up and judged. Is this person worth the risk of the dangerous and unpredictable KASSI procedure? What will they contribute to the good of mankind? This weighing up process is done in a court room, with lawyers, and jury and judge. Winter is responsible for defending the status quo- basically it’s his job to prevent KASSI from ever being used.
Athley is thrown in at the deep end and what follows is a clever and fast paced courtroom drama. There are twists and turns a plenty and the richly drawn characters will seemingly stop at nothing to achieve their goals.
The Realignment Case can be found in the sci-fi sections of bookshops and on websites, the cover clearly marks it out to be a sci-fi book, the description on Dearden’s Facebook page references the time altering sci-fi premise and yet it’s not really a sci-fi book. It’s a courtroom drama, it’s a thriller, and it’s a crime book. Yes, it is indisputable science fiction but I wouldn’t class it as a sci-fi book. But maybe that’s just me.
This is a clever book, occasionally too clever and the science aspects teeter on the edge of being too dense for a book written for entertainment. The diverse characters are generally well written, although frankly, some of them are despicable creatures. The female characters are less well done but this doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the book.
It’s an intriguing premise and Dearden manages to successfully sustain the intrigue throughout the book whilst negotiating a fast pace and complex plot.
Awarding this 4 bites today… very tasty!

Rachel Brazil
Although well-known amongst my family for my habit of falling asleep with a book on my face, I’ve not let the constant face bruises deter me from indulging in my favourite pastime. There is no famine, only feast, in my house with every flavour of book available for consumption. I’m happy to sample almost anything from the smorgasbord of literature available but can always be tempted with a juicy murder mystery or sweet little romance.

3 thoughts on “The Realignment Case by R J Dearden

  1. RJ Dearden

    Hey Mum, all support greatly appreciated. From an autor’s perspective, it’s a really interesting review from Rachel. She’s nailed the issue around the smorgasbord of genres in the novel. Call it Sci-Fi Realism? Thanks and keep on reading, RJ Dearden

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *