“Book Review: 720 Heartbeats”
Reviewed by Jaylynn Korrell
A high stakes game of life and death
720 Heartbeats by Jaka Tomc follows a man who is juggling a love life he didn’t think he’d ever have, a job that requires more than his full attention, and the ability to glimpse into the future. As you might imagine, the latter makes the former two even more complicated. This short novel draws you in as Tomc uses an intriguing story to question the impact of every decision a person can make.
When detective Rok Kapitar’s stolen laptop is returned to him, he notices only one thing is different: a document, almost like a diary entry, written exactly one day in the future. And in the following days, more entries appear on the laptop, giving him a glimpse into what the next day will hold, and the opportunity to either change it or not. Who they are written by and why they are being written is a mystery that Rok is determined to solve, while he juggles the tasks of an intense drug trafficking case. With the people he loves most in danger, the stakes get personal in this story of crime and mystery.
The idea for 720 Heartbeats is great. Considering Tomc’s main character is a detective, the intrigue of the unexplainable messages becomes even more mysterious and makes it feel like it’s in capable hands. This information mixes with the drug trafficking case, causing readers to question the world around the characters and making for a truly interesting mystery. The story hits the ground running with an intense first chapter, foreshadowing the tragedy that may come later and keeping the same energy throughout a good portion of the book.
Though sometimes interesting, Rok does often go into intense inner monologues, dissecting social norms and preaching his life ideas. In the beginning they blend their way into the story well, but as these monologues become more frequent, it feels less and less relevant to the story and comes across more preachy than anything. For such a short novel, I’m not sure the story has time to take so many of these breaks. I also don’t love the main character’s relationship with women in this book. Sara, his great love, is supposed to be portrayed as the ultimate love interest, but she lacks depth as a character and soon turns into what feels like a fantasy of an “ideal woman.” Because of these things, I experienced a few moments of frustration.
Despite these faults, the story stays true to its themes and is able to come through with a truly satisfying ending. Simultaneously suspenseful and easy to read, I’d recommend it to those who can take the faults in stride and enjoy the mystery as well as the fulfilling metaphysical concept.
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