Big Time

A Novel

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Pub Date Mar 05 2024 | Archive Date Mar 19 2024


In this "virtuoso,” “jaw-dropping” and “stellar technological thriller” (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review), a mother engulfed by her own mid-life crisis stumbles upon a dark conspiracy to harvest and sell people's time. 

What if time could be taken from us—the minutes, the hours, the years of our lives, extracted like organs taken for transplant? What would it mean for the world? And what would it do to the person from whom it’s taken? 

Grace Berney is a mid-level bureaucrat in the Food and Drug Administration, a woman who once brimmed with purpose but somehow turned into a middle-aged single mom with a dull government job and a melancholy sense that life has passed her by. Until the night a strange photo comes across her desk, of a young woman in a hospital bed who has been subjected to a mysterious procedure. Against orders and against common sense, Grace sets out to bring the girl to safety, and finds herself risking her job, her future, and her life on whether she can find the missing girl before an obsessive and violent mercenary who’s also looking. Big Time is a fast-paced thriller and a metaphysical mystery about the very nature of our lives.

In this "virtuoso,” “jaw-dropping” and “stellar technological thriller” (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review), a mother engulfed by her own mid-life crisis stumbles upon a dark conspiracy to harvest...

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ISBN 9780316305778
PRICE $29.00 (USD)

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Average rating from 44 members

Featured Reviews

Ben H. Winters’ novels have been on my to read list ever since I finished his superlative Last Policeman trilogy. So when presented with the chance to read his new novel Big Time, I jumped at the opportunity. And I’m really glad I did.

From the opening scene in which Allie, for unclear reasons, has been kidnapped by Desiree, I was immediately hooked. A very readable and fast paced sci-fi thriller, I was riveted and finished the book in nearly one sitting. Filled with well developed and relatable characters, excellent plotting and pacing, and a total lack of coincidences in the plot that make the reader groan, Big Time was a completely enjoyable read.

Highly recommended.

My thanks to Mulholland Books and Netgalley for providing an ARC of the book.

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What a fun ride! The premise was right up my alley. I enjoy sci/fi thriller combos with quick pacing and unique, although frightening, concepts. I look forward to more from this author! I will recommend this to readers who love John Marrs and Blake Crouch type sci-fi fast paced thrillers!

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This was either a shorter book than I've been reading lately, or I blasted through it because I was hooked. Or, perhaps, both. The story of a woman who is kidnapped and begins to realize she has the memories of two different people in her brain. The book is about her trying to figure out what is going on. It is fast paced action mixed with scientific experimentation and a whole lot of 'how did this happen' and 'what is actually going on here'. It's got strong, smart, badass women characters, which made me enjoy it even more. Very happy I decided to request this title to review. I'm already sharing the recommendation with my reader friends.

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Thanks for the insomnia - this is not a book to read before bed unless you plan to finish it.

The plot follows a fairly standard thriller template. An ordinary person is thrust into an extraordinary situation where they must escape from a coldly capable killer in order to rescue someone in danger and find out who is behind a deep conspiracy.

Okay, we've been here before. What sets this story apart is the development of highly believable characters and the intriguing "it" that is at the heart of the conspiracy - an experimental medical procedure for taking time from one person and giving it to another = and what it does to a character, who increasingly has trouble remembering what has happened to her, but feels her identity being crowded aside by that of another woman who is on the same quest. Their voices are distinctive as their selves wrestle for recognition inside the same body.

While this internal drama plays out, an exhausted bureaucrat in an obscure office of the FDA is in an unsatisfying job that nevertheless takes all of the energy left over from caring for her elderly mother and her smart but difficult gender-nonconforming teenager. When she becomes aware an unidentified young woman with a strange port embedded in her chest has disappeared from a hospital, she and her daughter embark on a dangerous adventure that gives her demanding but humdrum life meaning.

I'm used to this author throwing me into places that are strange, sending me across a disbelief suspension bridge that shouldn't hold my weight, but somehow does, at least until I try to describe it to someone else. I enjoyed every word of this novel and its very real characters thrown into a plot that seems to be traveling on a familiar road, but is utterly unique. And it all works very well.

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"Big Time" by Ben H. Winters is a riveting sci-fi thriller that explores the consequences of time travel and the moral dilemmas it presents. In a future where time travel is possible, the protagonist faces a high-stakes mission to prevent a catastrophic event. Winters deftly combines intricate plotting with philosophical reflections on destiny, choice, and the nature of time. The narrative unfolds with relentless tension, keeping readers on the edge of their seats. With well-drawn characters and thought-provoking concepts, "Big Time" is a mind-bending adventure that challenges perceptions and delivers a rollercoaster of suspense, making it a must-read for sci-fi enthusiasts.

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A woman sits, terrified, hands bound, in the back of an SUV traveling exactly at the speed limit. She has no idea why she's been kidnapped, but when an opportunity to escape presents itself, she doesn't think, she just runs. Then the memories come - someone else's memories - and all hell breaks loose. Told from multiple perspectives across a series of cascading events, the truth is revealed in jagged layers, in a pellmell race against time in this speculative thriller that will hit the spot for fans of Blake Crouch.

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This was a interesting concept and I was glad I got to read this. It was written well and had a great concept of scifi elements to it. The characters were wonderfully done and I enjoyed how realistic they were. Ben H. Winters has a great writing style and I look forward to read more.

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This was an excellent, very entertaining book. I enjoyed the combination of sci-fi and suspense, and was engaged throughout the entire story. I imagine that this book will have broad appeal to many readers. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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