[Book Review] Baen Books: ‘Expiration Date’ by Tim Powers

Expiration Date by Tim Powers

Ghosts can be caught, and bottled, and sold by covert dealers to addicts who inhale the things—and when a young boy named Kootie accidentally inhales the ghost of Thomas Edison, he finds that all the factions of Los Angeles’ occult underground are after him, determined to kill him and get Edison’s powerful ghost for themselves.

Aided by Edison’s confused and irascible ghost, Kootie flees—and finds himself dodging perils natural and supernatural in the gritty alleys and trainyards of a Los Angeles that tourists never see.

Fromm the slums around the L.A. River, to the abandoned Houdini mansion in the Hollywood Hills, to a final dramatic confrontation on the haunted ocean liner Queen Mary docked in Long Beach, Expiration Date is a heart-stopping supernatural adventure from one of fantasy fiction’s most original talents.

Expiration Date by Tim Powers

Expiration Date by Tim Powers is apparently the second book in the Fault Lines series. I did not know this was book #2 of a series.

There was no indication that there was a previous book, unless I looked at the inside page where it listed “Books by Tim Powers” where the middle of the page it lists the Fault Line Series. This probably contributed to some of my confusion while reading the novel.

Expiration Date is an interestingly complex tale that weaves the paranormal, mythos, and the supernatural in a modern Los Angeles setting. The concepts utilized are interesting, but not always explained and you are frequently left wondering what they are referring to (perhaps book 1?).

The book starts out with a mystery about a bust of Dante and then quickly folds into a tale of a runaway with murdered parents and a crazy stalker. From there the adventure only gets even more insane as Mr. Powers brings in a touch of history with Houdini, Edison and the Queen Mary.

This is not an easy read and sometimes you find that you just need to take a leap of faith that things will come together later. There are a lot of slow, boring areas with extraneous detail that can be easily edited or skipped without losing anything from the plot. In the end, your perseverance pays off and you will find that you have been taken on a wild ride that seems to cross all realms from historical to fantasy to science-fiction.

This is not a book you want to take on vacation for a light easy read, and it’s something you would only recommend to the most die-hard readers.

We gave Expiration Date this 3.5 Stars

PopCultHQ Rating - 3.5 Stars
PopCultHQ Rating – 3.5 Stars

Written by: Tim Powers
Cover Art by Adam Burn
Published by Baen Books

How we rate our Books

1 = We finished the book with effort

2 = Readable, but more fluff than substance

3 = Good

4 = Pretty Good and worth passing on to your friends

5 = We couldn’t put the book down