Cover Image: Hard Time

Hard Time

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I read the first St Mary’s book awhile back and I thought it was okay. It had some issues, but it was still a fun and enjoyable series I could see people liking. I decided to try this out, and I think my opinions are the same as her other series.

I enjoy her dialogue. Taylor has a great craft for that, and the characters become more rounded as you read them speaking. The story ideas are strong, but the issue that brings it down is the abundance of stuff that happens. The novel is packed, and you don’t get much time to breathe, but for people who like fast paced stories then this is for you. They are fun concepts to explore with, but I don’t think this is for me.
Was this review helpful?
I never read a Jody Taylor's book that didn't made me laugh and hooked till the last page.
This one is no exception.
Happy to catch up with the characters, I thoroughly enjoyed this highly entertaining and well written story.
I'm massive fan so may I'm biased but this is a book I strongly recommend.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Was this review helpful?
Although I find the original St Marys′ books a delight, I think I am coming to prefer the Time Police (TP) series. Perhaps it′s because the TP were formerly an amorphous mass of villains with one or two bit players, and now we can find out about more about them and their back story. 

Or it could be that we′re not voyeurs at devastating tragedies in history.  There are still plenty of trips back to the past, but now the protagonists are allowed, and even encouraged, to fix things. It seems strange when the TP are a much more ruthless organisation, but the body count is much less! The three main characters get involved in an undercover assignment. This gives us the chance to see more of the slightly alternate world in which Jodi Taylor sets her stories. St Marys is in a rural location, but with the TP HQ in the middle of London (and how perfect it is to see Battersea Power Station getting an actual purpose) there are more details on transport, technology and social structures. Everything is still relatable to 21st Century earth, but in some ways a better vision of society, except for the people who remain the same mix of good and bad.

The first book was angled more towards Jane′s growth, but Luke gets a bigger part in their main assignment and his background provides a lot of the impetus for the story.  Jane does get a big part in the story, but Matthew is more in the background. However he is a character that we already know more about – assuming you′ve read the St Marys′ books. And he does come into his own at an unexpected event at HQ.  

I found the story tied together well. The initial assignments had connections to the main story and the first one certainly provided a good section of the humour that we expect in this author′s books. It is an enjoyable read and I hope more is coming in the Time Police story.

I had a copy of this book early through Netgalley.
Was this review helpful?
no spoilers here, but totally wonderful as ever. Not as much Matthew as I would have liked, he still doesn't say much, but ace work by the team as a whole. I've been waiting for this since I finished Doing Time, and it doesn't disappoint. I've now read ALL of Jodi's books and not one has been less than enchanting. I now have to wait for the next one...
Was this review helpful?
Another fast paced adventure with Team Weird - Jane, Matthew and Luke. This time, a quick recovery jump to find and return a politician's spoilt daughter leads the team on a spiral into the murky underworld of illegal time travel and undercover operations which could spell the end of Team Weird.

As usual, I found this incredibly immersive and fun. The team have come such a long way since Doing Time, and the development continues here. Taylor has a way of developing characters and making them feel realistic and loveable. Luke, in particular, I find has had the most development as the novels have progressed, from a spoilt playboy to - well, a spoilt playboy but with friends who keep him grounded. I loved the increased interactions between Jane and Luke in the latter half of the book. They're the perfect pair in so many ways. Jane is shy, in her own words 'plain' and naïve to the world. Luke has gone through his whole life with the world open to him, but he's chosen to squander his opportunities. They each provide something that the other is lacking, and their friendship and chemistry is lovely to see develop and mature. Matthew also has his own arc of sorts. Without the other personalities in his team around for a large section of the story, he is forced out of his shell and out of his comfort zone. It forces him into the limelight, and you realise he's a lot more like his mother than he let's on.

The plot is tightly packed and well written. Often my only complaint with Jodi's stories is that she bounces around without any kind of clear destination for her characters - but here you can really see the story take off and it is tightly controlled. This allows the pacing to remain sharp and action filled with plenty of shocks and plot developments you wouldn't expect. There's also a lot of examination into the value of human life, and what it is to be 'human' that feels highly relevant to today's climate. The book also wouldn't be a Jodi Taylor without the obligatory St Mary's cameo - and this one, involving a bar, Markham and a deadly outbreak is not one to be missed. The same could be said of a certain time travelling duo, who make a brief appearance in Why Is Nothing Ever Simple? who I'm dying to learn more about. The Easter eggs are such an amazing little bonus for fans, and they make me squeal every time.

Another fabulous Time :Police novel that fans of the series should not miss. If you haven't already, I highly, HIGHLY recommend the St Mary's series by Jodi Taylor that runs alongside these. You don't need to have read the series to enjoy The Time Polcie novels, but you will gain so much more from them if you have. I can't wait for the next one.
Was this review helpful?
Team Weird are back!

What initially appears to be a straightforward rescue mission reveals itself to be a part of an illegal time-travelling ring which Team 236 get dragged into.

Luke, Jane and Matthew are still trainees with the Time Police, albeit within their last month or so of training. When they are asked to participate in a rescue of an illegal, it turns out that said illegal is one of Luke's ex's. Oh the joy. A quick jump back to the 17th century, and all is as well as can be when Team Weird are involved.

After Matthew gets injured, Luke and Jane are asked to go undercover to gain information on an illegal time-travel ring which seems to target wealthy rich kids... so Luke is the obvious choice to 'return from rehab', with Jane as his sober councillor (aka, straight-laced-party-pooper).

I love the Chronicles of St Mary's, and I'm beginning to love these spin-offs. I can't wait to see what these guys get up to once they finally graduate and become official Time Police Officers.

Bring on Book 3!
Was this review helpful?
I have loved most of The Chronicles of St Marys, and was very excited to find this spin off based on the Time Police! I managed to miss the first book, but having read all of the St Marys books, it was easy enough to pick up Hard Time. All of Jodi Taylor's usual humour and historical detail were here, and I found all three main characters believable and engaging. The plot was thrilling, based on illegal time travel that was being sold as an opportunity for rich tourists to flout the law, but then uncovering something much darker. It was at this point that the plot became a little unbelievable for my taste, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it!
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All views expressed in this are my own.
This was such a joy to read! The characters were memorable, the plot fast-paced and exciting, and the writing impeccable.

Overall rating: 4.5/5
Was this review helpful?
The timeline is fragile. Stand on a butterfly in the Jurassic Era and you may end up returning to a world in which we all have seven arms – useful for multi-tasking. If time travel were available not everybody would respect the past and therefore, it needs to be policed. A subtle and intelligent team of professionals would be able to intercept illegal time travellers before they cause any harm. Or you could just send in a crew of fighters in jack boots and kill every person that tries to go back in time. 

Jane, Luke and Matthew are all Trainee Time Police and they make up what has become known as Team Weird. This is not an affectionate term. The other officers just think they are odd. Team Weird are willing to mix it up with the best of them but are prone to thinking up plans ad hoc, rather than just blasting all they see. This out of the box thinking may be just what is required when undercover officers are required. The first two have been found dead as they were too obvious. There is nothing that screams professionalism or police about these three. 

Hard Times by Jodi Taylor sits within a rich series of books that not only incorporates the Time Police but the eclectic mix of characters that is The Chronicles of Saint Mary’s. I am new to the world and it did feel a little that I was caught catching up with proceedings. The two institutions have opposing views on how time travel should be handled and Team Weird sit somewhere between the two. Those versed in the IP’s politics will take all this as granted but new readers are best served starting with at least book one of the Time Police series. 

I am unsure if the books are an ensemble and cover different characters each time as there is a lot of noise in places. Characters who seemingly have little impact on proceedings within Hard Times are given more time and space to develop than support the story. I can only assume that this is fan service and that these characters feature more prominently elsewhere.  

Through the noise, the book shines when it concentrates on the main three members of Team Weird. It is especially good when the book just boils down to Jane and Luke as they go undercover. There are several chapters that allow the characters to interact and it keeps things simple. A clear understanding of the book is developed. Only for several St Mary characters to have a cameo and for thing to get overly busy once more. 

Hard Times is comedic in nature and takes a sideways look at bureaucracy and relationships. Even the most serious characters are sent up. Therefore, the violence in the book feels jarring. The Time Police themselves are psychopathic, but it is the pure evil at the centre of the book that sits uneasy within a comedic book. If you stop to think what the bad guys are up to you will be appalled, it is incredibly dark. It would work well in a serious science fiction thriller. Within these pages you can’t help thinking that abuse sitting next to a pithy remark about a character’s appearance feels off. 

The book gains and loses focus throughout. When it picks up the relationships and story of Team Weird it is a fun and interesting book. The investigation that dominated the central act is pure, both entertaining and exciting. The elements that book end this have a few too many ephemeral elements. Hard Times is still an enjoyable read, it just in places the noise makes it a harder time to read than necessary.
Was this review helpful?
My thanks to Headline for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Hard Time’ by Jodi Taylor in exchange for an honest review.

This is the second in her Time Police series, which itself is a spinoff of her very popular Chronicles of St. Mary’s. Both series involve time travel and are very funny. I enjoyed ‘Doing Time’ and felt that ‘Hard Time’ was even better as I was already familiar with the characters and premise. I would suggest that the books are read in order. 

I am wary of spoilers, so will give only a very quick taster... Team 236, aka Team Weird, are approaching the end of their training. Yet when the Time Police learn of the existence of a highly illegal operation offering temporal tourism, getting inside information is vital. Luke’s privileged background and given that he and Jane don’t look like time police operatives makes them ideal candidates for an undercover assignment. Naturally, there’s plenty of opportunity for things to go wrong.

I love Jodi Taylor’s tongue-in-cheek style. ‘Hard Time’ was a fabulous, quirky romp that I found totally entertaining with plenty of laugh out loud moments. 

I was pleased to see that the third book, ‘Saving Time’ is already listed for publication next October. 

Highly recommended book and series.
Was this review helpful?
I was given this book from Netgalley – thank you to Jodi Taylor, Headline and Netgalley.

I cannot tell you how chuffed I was to get an advanced copy of this novel, as Jodi Taylor is one of my favourite authors and I’ve got to the point where I’d buy her book without reading the blurb.  I have read all the St Mary’s books, and thoroughly enjoyed Doing Time earlier this year. 

I believe that Jodi Taylor gets better with every book she writes and the last five or six I’ve read of hers are exemplary; this is no exception.   

Hard Time starts off by going to one of my favourite time periods, the Restoration, but it is a wild, beautifully executed ride from then on.  The plot is fast paced, gripping and so exciting.  We have the French Revolution here, we have the Pleistocene and we have a future (mini) war.  We even have Markham, who is number one fictional crush, in a Hawaiian shirt – is it possible to be better than that? 

Team Weird are back and we get to know them a bit more, especially Luke, who has a rather colourful past.  Jane is getting stronger and much more appreciated around TPHQ – the conversations in her head and her developing courage are brilliant and had me laughing out loud.  The growing similarities between Matthew and his mother are, as a fan of Max, a joy to read. But the fact that this is in third person allows you to understand the wide range of characters even better than St Mary’s does. 

North, who annoyed me no end in St Mary’s is dependable and bold here, whilst the developing relationship with Ellis is intriguing.  The insights into Commander Hay and Farringdon’s working life is perfectly pitched.  There is so much here, so many carefully created and distinctive characters, a plot that is planned so well that it gives us a very satisfying ending but with enough lose ends for a sequel and whole series to be underpinned by it. And on top of all that it is hilarious. 

The main problem of course is, there is a whole year to wait for the next one! If you like something a bit crazy, very funny and totally off the wall this is the right series for you.
Was this review helpful?
Hard Time is the second book in The Time Police series, a spinoff of Taylor's wildly popular Chronicles of St. Mary's series and is undoubtedly one of the most fun and entertaining books for adults that I have ever read; reading this reminded me just how rare lighthearted, fast-flowing and superbly written science fiction actually is. It's preferable to have read the first instalment before this one but as the core of the story is self-contained it’s not a necessity as enough background is provided to bring new readers up to speed. Team 236, aka Team Weird by the other Time Police teams, comprised of Luke, Jane and Matthew, are called in to assist when a prominent politician’s daughter, and coincidentally Luke’s ex-girlfriend, takes an illegal trip back to the seventeenth century with her boyfriend where she is currently stranded and the team must rescue her as quickly as possible. They've been warned to keep the little indiscretion on the down-low but who are they kidding when Team Weird are involved in the rescue! When they arrive it's safe to say she is not in the slightest bit happy about being rescued by an ex, but she does provide them with details of the illegal time travel organisation that dropped her there.

This allows Luke and Jane to head undercover to try and infiltrate the underground organisation that had been offering temporal tourism trips to the past. Their mission to bring the merciless and well equipped company to justice is fraught with danger and soon what seemed an easy task in prospect became a daunting one as two undercover Time Police hunters are brutally murdered and their corpses sent to Commander Hay as a stark warning to disengage. Can they bring them down without any further bloodshed? The team’s training is also coming to an end and with only three weeks to go before graduation, by now each should have expressed an interest in the post-grad divisions they would like to apply to, but that doesn't appear to have occurred. This is a fantastic, action-packed time travel adventure with all the excitement, peril and quirky characterisation you need; in fact, it's even more entertaining and enjoyable than Doing Time. It's laugh out loud funny in places and edge of your seat suspenseful in others. With all the timeslips, mayhem, pep and pizazz you could ever want in a book, get ready to fly, along with the gang, by the seat of your pants! Highly recommended. Many thanks to Headline for an ARC.
Was this review helpful?
I love Jodi Taylor's writing and enjoying this new series a lot! The characters, plot and writing are very gripping.

Definitely will continue. Thanks a lot to NG and the publisher for this copy.
Was this review helpful?
Trying to get to the bottom of an illegal historical tourism ring, all the usual the Time Police methods fall short, so it’s time to call on Team Weird and their unorthodox methods. As a wealthy, entitled socialite, Time Police Trainee Luke Parrish is the perfect spy, along with Trainee Jane Lockland as his sobriety coach, trying to keep his head on the task at hand. But what starts out as a fun return to Luke’s former lifestyle quickly becomes deadly as Team Weird realise there is more going on than just a few sightseeing trips to the past. Can Luke and Jane survive long enough to graduate from Time Police training?
If you’ve caught my review of the first Time Police book, Doing Time, then you’ll know this was a surprise hit for me. I came at it knowing nothing about St Mary’s and Jodi Taylor’s unique, very English, writing style. I instantly fell in love with the pace and action. Every page bubbled with energy and barely controlled chaos. I couldn’t put it down. When I heard about the follow-up Hard Time, I was very excited, and I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed.
The story picks up not far after the events of Hard Time, with Luke, Jane, and Matthew Farrell avoiding choosing where they will go once they have graduated. I don’t want them to go their separate ways any more than they do. They are great together because they come from very different backgrounds, and have learned to work to each other’s strengths as well as cover their weaknesses. 
Fans of Taylor’s previous work will be familiar with the style. It is fast-paced and bulging at the seams with banter, and the historical information is fascinating. The moments from the past Taylor uses to move the plot forward clearly communicate her love of history and looking at what we know from different points of view. In particular, the scene with Marie-Antoniette is particularly fascinating, changing her from a name to a person, the afternoon of her arrest changes from a fact to vivid reality. 
Throughout the story, Taylor gives us strong female characters in positions of authority. They are capable, assertive, and intelligent. They are respected in their position and have earned it through merit. Commander Hay is in charge of the Time Police with a forward-looking approach and a novel approach to getting her own way. I love her parts as she navigates the politics of her organisation, she is as humorous as she is driven. I really feel her pain at the antics of the officers around her.
Hard Time is perfect for anyone who loves fast-paced action with strong, memorable characters who drive the story forward with a combination of ingenuity and incompetence. Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
I just love Jodi and I’m really enjoying the  character development of the new series with cameos from St Mary’s!
Was this review helpful?
This book follows on a little while after the events of Doing Time with Team weird moving towards the end of their grunt work and towards becoming fully fledged Time Police officers. But obviously because it’s them things aren’t going to be simple or easy.

If book one was a ‘squad establishing’ book then I’m not sure how to define book two, for the most part the relationships between the team are set and so it’s mostly seeing these characters tackle an adventure together. I loved the plot of this book – it went to places (both in time, space and plot) that I would never have anticipated and I loved seeing more of the world where time travel is a possibility. One thing I like about this series (again probably something that is also there in St Mary’s I must read them) is that the book doesn’t get bogged down in the science of time travel. Things work, there are rules, things go wrong, rules get broken – you don’t need to spend every seven pages wrapping your head around a paradox – so instead you get to enjoy a fun story.

While this book doesn’t pull punches – when people do bad things they do really bad things – the overall feeling I had was that I was in a safe pair of hands. I knew this book would be fun and funny and that things would tie off at the end, they might not tie off particularly nicely but that’s time travel for you. There’s a comfort and a distinct ‘bingeability’ to Jodi Taylors writing which explains why there are so many dedicated fans of her work. It really does give me that feeling I get when watching a good murder mystery program – that sense of a contained story.

That’s not to say we don’t see bigger plot happening, there is still character development happening for pretty much everyone and there are changes happening to the time police – for better or for worse. I liked getting to see more of Luke and Jane’s dynamic, because it’s a classic ‘posh boy / shy girl’ buddy cop feeling. I’m hoping to get to know Matthew a little better in future books but he get’s a fair shake at things too.

If you’re looking for ‘comfort reads’ that still pack a punch then I think this series is a really good shout. And I promise you the other books are on my list to read when this darned TBR is done!

My rating: 4/5 stars

I received a free digital review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Hard Time is out October 15th!
Was this review helpful?
I love me a good literary squad and team 236 or as they're affectionately know 'team weird' are becoming a firm favourite. Luke, Jane and Matthew certainly don't fit in with the 'regulation' style Time Police, but you can't say they're not effective. As their training is coming to an end they are all expected to choose which division of the Time Police they want to apply for, but they are a little reluctant to leave one another. Luckily a distraction comes in the stranding of a Politicians daughter in 17th Century. Team 236 are sent to retrieve the girl only she is a little reluctant to return... no thanks to having a past with Luke Parrish. The Time Police are determined to stop this little illegal time travel operation and so they need to send people undercover, people who could never be accused of being Time Police... you can see where I'm going with this right? Unfortunately, the deeper they get into the organisation, the true depravity of it comes to life and team 236 end up in a whole heap of trouble.

Luke, Jane and Matthew certainly make for a unique team. Lead by Major Ellis, they are the laughing stock of the Time Police, more likely to end up in a corridor brawl than actually working, but when they do get out there their differences and strengths come to light, and team 236 might just be taking the Time Police in the right direction. Luke has certainly not changed from book 1, still philandering, thinks too highly of himself and never knows when to shut up. BUT when the shit hits the fan he can, at times, be an effective leader... mainly because he doesn't give anyone else the chance. Jane is the characters I've seen grow the most from book one. She still blushes at the barest hint of praise, and still has slightly schizophrenic tendencies, but clearly being accused of Murder in book one has done wonders for her confidence, slightly more bolshy and not afraid to take Luke down a peg or two she is quickly becoming my favourite character. Matthew just wants to break away from St Mary's and his parents legacy, he is a wonder with the Time Map ( even if he broke it that one time), and that seems like a logical place for him to head after graduation, but he is hesitant to leave his friends, this unlikely band of misfits where he fits in. His is another character whose confidence has definitely grown from book one and I enjoyed him being a little more talkative and assertive. Taylor also manages to bring up well built up side characters, each with their own individual personalities and traits. Some you like, some you don't but they are all effortlessly brought to life.

I found the whole concept of 'Time Police' really intriguing and we definitely get to explore it in more depth in this book. Sounds pretty straightforward right? They Police Time? And they do, they make sure that nobody tries to go back and alter any important historical events (man the amount of people who have tried to kill Hitler!), they try and catch rogue time travellers and they also look for any inconsistencies such as time slips. It should get repetitive, but instead Taylor makes every book its own adventure, think The Librarians mixed in with Indiana Jones (only less impressive) and she makes the humour in the books so utterly British, I defy you not to giggle your way through them. I still really need to read the St Mary's Chronicles because I feel a little of the backstory is lost on me, but not enough to affect my overall enjoyment.

>Like 'Doing Time' this book was filled with a multitude of twists and turns, and this book tends towards the darker side in some ways. But not too dark, don't worry! If you're here for a fast paced read, adventure and utterly hilarious one liners, you wont be disappointed. This is a series I will definitely be carrying on with and I can't wait to get my hands on the next adventure with Team Weird.
Was this review helpful?
Q O T D. Are there any authors you exclusively buy just on audiobook? Believe it or not, 12 books and 14 novellas later up until I received the ARC (massive, massive thanks to @headlinebooks & @netgalley by the way) for Hard Time I’d never, ever read a Jodi Taylor Book. The Chronicles of St. Mary’s are one of my all time favourite, most re-read adult series but I’ve always, exclusively had them in audiobook read by the wonderful Zara Ramm. Needless to say I’ll still be ordering my audiobook on publication day (Oct 15th)!

Hard Time by @joditaylorbooks - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(⭐️) - this was a 4.9 for me, but I know the -0.1 was because the characters voices were missing and they are so much part of their personalities!

Team Weird are back in this second, brilliant Chronicles of St. Mary’s Time Police spin off series and, typically things in the world of policing illegal time travel never go as planned. Hard Time is everything you could possibly want from one of Jodi’s books - the usual suspects from St Mary’s even make a brief appearance - with only one minor flaw that is not really the books fault.

I’ve written a book before. Two actually, and because of this I understand that producing a brilliant book is not a solo endeavour. We all have brilliant editors and often agents. I wholeheartedly now believe that the fairy dust that makes Jodi Taylor’s Time Police and Chronicles of St Mary’s books so bloody brilliant is their narrator. I think if you follow this account you’ll have to expect that every time one of these books comes out I’m going to wax lyrical about why you need to go get a copy of Just One Damn Thing After Another (the first book) and come along for the ride, but this time I’m telling you: the audiobooks are even better.

Okay so out of the three big twists, I saw two of them coming, but that’s how many of Jodi’s books in this world I’ve read how many times each? Go get started on the books now because every single one of them - including this one - is worth the ride (and do pay attention to Why Is Nothing Ever Simple? because I’m going to have to go back for a re-listen now because what started off as a bit of fun has suddenly become important!)
Was this review helpful?
Jodi knocks it out of the park again!

This is the second in the Time Police spin off series, following Jane (the shy but growing ever more confident), Matthew (Max's Matthew... I'll leave it at that), and Luke (the spoilt). As they finish the last of their training to become fully fledged Time Police officers.

If you're already a fan of the Disaster Magnets of St Mary's, and the first Time police novel then you will NOT be disappointed. 

Team Weird!
Was this review helpful?
The second in the Time Police spinoff sees Team Weird tackling time slips, rogue time travel tourists and facing up to their own TP futures; as to be expected nothing goes to plan!
If you're  a fan of the author's first series The Chronicles of St. Mary's, then you'll find lots to enjoy here, including a cameo appearance from most of the St Mary's regulars. The mayem continues!
Was this review helpful?