Karma’s Envoy (Publication Review)

HUGEOrange Publication Review
Karma’s Envoy by Kevan Houser

Todd is a grown man living in San Francisco in 2013, in love, getting by, just a regular guy. He goes to sleep one night and wakes up as an 8-year-old boy, Peter. It is now 1962 and he’s found himself living in a trailer in Oregon. He tries to make the best of the sudden change, going to school, coping with his new chain-smoking, depressed mother and the strange new world he’s in. Just when he is becoming familiar with the new people and time, he’s whisked back to 2013.
A woman, breathless, burst into the room. Apparently having just stepped out of a fifties TV show. A plainer version of June Lockhart, circa Timmy and Lassie maybe, with permed chestnut hair, plaid Gingham dress, white apron. Unlike Timmy’s TV mother, this woman sported emerald green cat-eye glasses and carried a lit cigarette. I took a good look, then my eyes slammed shut and my head hit the pillow.
He hires a private detective to get any information on the people he had met in Oregon to see what happened to them and if it’s possible to contact anyone. One evening, the detective calls to say he has lots of information on them and Todd would be getting a package the next morning with all the facts. However, when the morning comes, Todd is Peter again.
I surreptitiously studied this vintage mom-bot as I wolfed down my decidedly nonvegetarian breakfast. Who eats bacon and eggs and hash browns for breakfast anymore? Who has time to do all that cooking? She kept fussing over me with her mom patter like I was a fragile snowflake. Reminding me that I was her big boy now. Either she really was my mother, or she was as good an actress as the June Lockhart she vaguely resembled. How could I not know her, not even recognize her? Maybe I’d suffered a weird little-kid stroke that gave me amnesia?
And so goes a back and forth mystery for Todd/Peter who begins to suspect there’s a reason this is happening. There is something evil in young Peter’s life and Todd is the only one who sees it and the only one who could do anything about it. The parts that are in the 1960s are so well depicted that you feel disoriented yourself when he pops back into the modern world.
The condo felt magically big and quiet and clean and neat after living in that dumpy little trailer for three months. And the food! Fresh produce, real coffee, real bread, real cheese, real chocolate. I kept sacking the refrigerator, plundering more and more goodies to shove in my face, stretching breakfast into brunch. Finally stuffed, I poured myself one more cup of Peet’s French roast and stretched out on the sofa facing the floor-to-ceiling window. After so much time away, the view was surreal. I’d honestly thought I’d never see it again.
Author Kevan Houser has written a book with an original concept and a very thorough depiction of a person trying to make sense of madness.  Karma’s Envoy is a book that grabs you from the very start and is genuinely hard to put down.

Recommended for readers of mystery and fantasy. Not recommended for younger readers as there are some graphic depictions of a sexual nature which might be disturbing to some.