Right On Schedule by Don Preston

Preston’s premier novel isn’t easy to pin down.  Both humorous and ponderous, the main character here is an ex-tech specialist named Josh Morgen who discovers he has a unique ability: he can determine the time and day that any individual will die – except himself.  So what does one do with a gift like that?  For Josh, the answer is to go into business, building a massive corporation from the ground up by becoming a plaything of politicians, movie stars, and other bigwigs all across the country.  But greed soon gets the better of him, and Josh finds himself caught up in a web of lies, his talent for making deadly accurate “Mortality Revelations” his only weapon.  Not to mention that Josh has noticed a startling trend in his predictions; the death dates all seem to cluster around the year 2044, with nothing occurring afterwards.  Is Josh predicting the End of Times?  Or could it mean something else entirely?

For an author’s first novel, Right On Schedule is impressively well formed.  The premise is unique and compelling, the characters numerous and, oftentimes, hilariously off-kilter.  There’s Josh’s psychiatrist, who isn’t everything she appears to be; his well-to-do girlfriend, Lindsay, whom Josh meets after she requests Mortality Revelations for her and her gal pals; a high-profile nun named Sister Bridget, whose intensity has less to do with her love for the Lord and everything to do with money; and many more.  Right On Schedule uses its intriguing premise to draw real thought and reflection from its readers.  If you knew when you were going to die, what would you do with the information?  Would you try to avoid death at all costs?  Or perhaps speed up the process by taking events into your own hands?  Ultimately, this novel is a statement on the futility of mankind to affect its own fate – and it’s a laugh-out-loud funny one at that.

Right On Schedule is unreleased – look for it soon!