Readers will feel lost in 'The Tourist' by Robert Dickinson

This book cover image released by Redhook shows

This book cover image released by Redhook shows "The Tourist," by Robert Dickinson. (Redhook via AP)

"The Tourist" (Redhook), by Robert Dickinson

Robert Dickinson's latest novel, "The Tourist," is billed as a conspiracy thriller, but it's a sci-fi novel that explores various ramifications of time travel.

In a future that appears bleak, people can take trips into the past. These vacations are to places such as a shopping mall where tourists can mingle with folks in the past while enjoying clear fresh air.

Every aspect of the excursion is known ahead of time. Every detail of what everyone will accomplish and do in their lifetime is established.

Then a tour to the 21st century comes back with one tourist missing. The records say this woman didn't go missing, so this anomaly shouldn't exist. If nothing is supposed to go wrong, what happens when the report and the facts are wrong?

Dickinson has created an interesting premise to build his somewhat vague future. Elements of the best sci-fi novels take time to explain how the future came to be, while also making the reader feel immersed in the minute details of the society. Not in this novel. Readers will feel a bit lost because the author doesn't fully build his world to make it understandable. Dickinson explains little, creating a narrative that's both a struggle and somewhat disjointed.

Elements have to be familiar to establish the unfamiliar. "The Tourist" makes you feel a bit like a tourist on a bus with the guide speaking a foreign language.