What I gleaned about the book: A young man encounters two very strange people during a lecture. But were they real, or was he dreaming?
Find the book on Amazon.
Analysis: When writing in the past tense and then describing an event that took place even earlier, you have to switch into past perfect. It isn’t optional. You don’t have to stay there if the flashback is long, but you have to at least go there for a sentence or two, to establish that you are talking about a different point in time, further back. Without it, the reader comes unstuck in time. Unfortunately, this problem crept up repeatedly for me, and jarred me out of the story each time. It’s exactly the kind of thing a good copy editor would catch.
And it was doubly vexing because the present tense stuff was actually interesting and well written.