Days of Atonement

Loren Hawn is a traditional Western peace officer walking the streets of 21st Century New Mexico, and seemingly unaware that times have changed. And when a dying man named Randal falls out of a bullet-riddled car and dies in Loren’s arm, Loren finds he isn’t the only man living in the wrong time—because he remembers pulling Randal’s dead body out of a wrecked car twenty years before.

He knows the car belongs to a scientist who works at the high-security laboratory built on the outskirts of town, and he knows that if he doesn’t work fast, all evidence of a crime will disappear into national security vaults. In order to bring justice back to his community, Loren will have to risk everything, his life, his job, his faith, and his family.


“[DAYS OF ATONEMENT] is a genre-busting blend of science fiction and police procedural that succeeds on every level […] Williams is as much in command of his territory as Loren is of his. The scientific content and the world view that it engenders are essential to the story, making this true science fiction.”

The New York Times

“Williams’s longest, most densely realized and successful work to date […] Williams’s portrayal of a complex and violent man lends depth to his story, which can sometimes be a bit slick in its twists and turns […] DAYS OF ATONEMENT sends out deeper roots than Williams’s previous novels, and augurs interestingly for his future.”

Washington Post Book World

“The complex yet logical puzzles, the small-town New Mexico ambiance, the gritty realism [is] Rousing, vintage Williams.”


“A credible exploration of near-future community.”

Publishers Weekly

“[Williams] brings his gift for hardcore realism to this-near future tale of one man’s confrontation with the unknown. For most SF collections.”

Library Journal

“Williams’ most ambitious novel to date combines mystery, hard science, character study, and setting with impressive success […] In overall technical excellence, this proves to be the best book by an increasingly skilled author. It is also an above-average portrait of scientists at work. Highly recommended.”


“This is a novel that works marvelously on a variety of levels – as an adventure story, a trek through personal entanglements, a study in detailed police techniques and an enlightening lesson in theoretical science. And if that isn’t enough, it also offers a totally unexpected ending – too often a rarity in Earthbound science fiction.”

Chicago Sun-Times

“Williams has done his best work to date in his latest novel, DAYS OF ATONEMENT. It’s so good that you’ll see it on the “Best of ’91” prize ballots. You may well see it in the winner’s circle […] If you like bang-up endings, you’ll love DAYS OF ATONEMENT.”


“A tightly plotted, hugely complex, but ultimately very satisfying novel.”


“Williams has written one of the most arresting depictions of a character in recent times.”


Awards & Accolades