Uncle Herbert: Time is Running Out (Sand Mountain Tales) by Philip C. Elrod, 310 pages, March 10th, 2017, Genre: Young Adult/Adventure/Romance/Coming of Age. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.
by Leigh Holland
Uncle Herbert Time is Running Out is the latest “Sand Mountain Tales” novel by Philip C. Elrod. It is loosely related to Elrod’s Mylean Universe Chronicles books. Suitable for young adults, it tells the story of one man’s romantic adventure to try to avert global disaster.
Andrew Benson dreams of going to college and escaping his small-town Alabama life. His hopes are dashed when he fails to acquire any scholarships. Andrew accepts his fate as an auto mechanic; a member of the same small community that has shunned his Uncle Herbert for years. His eccentric, quirky uncle appears out of the blue one day to repay a loan he owed to Andrew’s dad. Uncle Herbert does more than that: he pays for Andrew’s Master Degree and vastly enriches Andrew’s parents. However, his chickens come home to roost when Uncle Herbert places his vast resources into Andrew’s hands and requires Andrew to do the unthinkable. Andrew does as is needed, only to discover Uncle Herbert is more brilliant and sly than he ever imagined.
The story is told in first person narrative style through the perspective of Andrew Benson. The characters are well-developed with unique traits and quirks. At the start of the story, Andrew is a simply, small-town lad. By the end, he’s experienced adventures that take him around the globe and into harrowing situations. Andrew also finds love. The most interesting characters were Uncle Herbert and Dr. Qureshi. I found Dr. Qureshi’s bad jokes endearing and amusing. The plot was fast paced through most of the book. During the middle twenty percent of the book it slowed down but regained pace.
Uncle Herbert Time is Running Out is an interesting story with memorable characters. Elrod weaves together elements of science fiction and action adventure into a fun coming of age tale. I’d recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys young adult action adventure novels with a twist.
This book can be found on Amazon at Uncle Herbert Time Is Running Out.