In the summer of 2016, Ray returned to 1984.
Three Miles of Eden
Seven Lakes, North Carolina is a melting pot of Southerners and northern transplants, retirees, and Gen-Xers raising kids. Children ride bikes with wild abandon, walk down the street with fishing poles and without care, and they play in the front yard with minimal supervision.
When someone kills a beloved resident in a savage home invasion, the community is heartbroken and outraged, especially the victim’s best friend, author Ray McCarthy. Ray and Rob Erwin grew up here together, and they returned to raise their families. Nothing is perfect. Rob’s wife runs around on him. Ray’s wife has an opioid addiction. When Ray confronted her with rehab, she took off with their five-year-old daughter, Ava.
Ray, who was a good athlete, decides to do less drinking and more running to combat the stress, and he selects the three-mile route around Lake Sequoia where, as kids, he and Rob fished and horsed around with their pal Arden Miller.
The day before Rob’s memorial, Ray experiences a curious vertigo sensation during his run. He notices vintage vehicles, music from his childhood, and empty spaces where houses should be. Nothing seems too out of the ordinary until Ray encounters a neighbor whose funeral he attended two years before. Ray discovers that he’s slipped back into his adolescent self in the summer of 1984.
After Rob’s memorial, Ray meets with Rob’s uncle and godfather, Colonel Jim Dorn, who presents Ray with his “inheritance.” In the summer of 1984, Ray, Rob, and Arden buried a time capsule filled with Ghostbusters movie tickets, a Luke Skywalker action figure, and letters that prognosticate each other’s futures. It turns out that 44-year old Rob had found and opened the capsule in May of 2016, less than a month before he died.
Ray makes a series of trips to 1984 while simultaneously inserting himself into the 2016 criminal investigation of Rob Erwin’s death, putting his own life in danger.
Reviewed in the United States on June 2, 2020
"Engaging and fast-paced book that held my attention cover to cover with creative plot twists and endearing characters. The brilliant narrative style of Smith made me feel like I was in the story. The time slip aspect of the book was something I haven't read before, and each character that he weaves into the story comes to life in a way that only a great author knows how to do. GREAT read that will not disappoint even the most discerning mystery enthusiast!"
"It's a novel that keeps on giving...wonderful characters with whom you immediately invest (especially the wife on the run). A climactic fight scene alone is worth the price of admission, and the epilogue is priceless."
"The author hooks you with the first line of the book and keeps the pace going at a steady jog throughout. I had a hard time putting it down, reading well past my usual bedtime. The twists and turns, and various plots that seem so separate in the beginning, start coming together as you read on and it adds to the intrigue, keeping you guessing as to what might come next..."