Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay Book Review

         It was a nice summer afternoon and David Harwood decided to take his wife and son to an amusement park.  Then two things happened.  First, Ethan, their four year old son had disappeared when Jan Harwood came back, telling her husband that she just turned her back for a second and he was gone.  

         David and Jan went looking for Ethan and after a few minutes, David found Ethan in his stroller.  Relieved, he called Jan and only got her voicemail.  After several more attempts, he still got her voicemail.  Eventually, he would report this to the police because Jan had disappeared from the park and didn’t go home.  

          This is where Linwood Barclay’s psychological thriller, Never Look Away begins.  Unlike his other novels, I would say that there is a blend of comedy and shades of Elmore Leonard based on vicious and stupid criminals that you would see in early novels from Leonard such as 52 Pickup and Stick.

           Barclay does a great job of capturing what it’s like to work in a newspaper and you see the problems that develop such as having some of these jobs in India.  It adds a lot of comedy to the novel along with the conflicts reporters have on doing stories that could create problems for the paper.  

            As far as the story goes, the tension only mounts as Harwood tries to find Jan, only to receive some surprises and revelations that he did not expect from a woman that he was married to for 4 years.  It’s the type of story that you would see in headlines on the news.  If that isn’t enough, he is also being accused of Jan’s disappearance since the husband is usually the first suspect to be looked at. 

             Barclay has put a cast of characters that you would not expect based on his other novels.  They are believable and only make the story more memorable as the story moves along with a great shifting point of view that kept me on the edge of my couch because I didn’t know what was going to happen next. 

              It’s impossible to say which novel is the best by Linwood Barclay but as far as I’m concerned, Never Look Away is again one of his best novels and I wish I can give it more than five stars.  

Ron Hummer

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