The most recent novel from Tilia Klebenov Jacobs, “Wrong Place, Wrong Time,” starts with a jolt: When Tsara Alderman receives an invitation to her estranged uncle’s fundraising gala, she’s surprised — and intrigued. But their joyful reunion is cut short when Tsara is kidnapped at knifepoint and taken on horseback to a secluded cabin where she is held for an unusual ransom: the kidnapper’s son.
Much to Tsara’s shock, she learns that her uncle moonlights as a loan shark and when his customers don’t pay, he holds their kids in his cellar until they do.
It’s an exciting setup, especially because the kidnapper, Mike, is a sympathetic character. However, when Mike makes it clear he is not going to harm Tsara and Tsara’s uncle immediately confesses to the crime, the only suspense that emerges is: What could possible happen for 300 more pages?
What follows are chapters detailing Tsara’s home life and marriage, the trial for Mike and Tsara’s uncle, and fallouts for each character, no matter how minor. While the dialogue is well-done and the plotline between Tsara and her husband is especially poignant, with so many shifts in point of view it’s difficult to invest in Tsara’s storyline — or see an overarching plot for the novel.
There are plenty of distractions, including some overt scenes to remind us, over and over again, that Tsara is Jewish.
Part family drama, part suspense novel, “Wrong Place, Wrong Time” is too many books all at once, making for a confusing — and disappointing — tale.