Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Linwood Barclay: Fear the Worst

Linwood Barclay is an author known for his thrillers, and here Barclay delivers the mystery of a missing girl who no one seems to be able to explain why she is gone.

Tim is just an average guy, he sells Hondas during the day and takes care of his teenage daughter Sydney at night and he kind of gets along with his ex-wife’s boyfriend and his son Evan (even though he does not like the idea of Sydney and Evan living under the same roof). Things are peaceful and getting back to normal after the divorce. Then one day Sydney vanishes into thin air, there is nothing to say that she was abducted or just decided to run away, the trail is cold. Tim refuses to believe that Sydney would just disappear and spends most of his days and nights searching for his daughter, unaware that there is something more going on in his town, events and practices that people will kill to make sure they never comes to light.

I had really high expectations for this author, and maybe it is part of the hype that has surrounded him or even on the cover where it stated that Barclay was Canada’s best thriller author but I personally think that Barclay did not deliver as well as I wanted him to. The book is well written and has a good flow, despite the fact that I found there were points within the book that were slow. Approximately the first half of this book is very slow and it took about 250 pages for things to get interesting and have the plot begin to move along and the last 100 pages get really really interesting as everything comes to light. However, due to the fact that it took 250 pages to get me invested in this book I could see some readers putting the book down.

I will say that Barclay knows how to do mystery, I am not too sure about the thriller part (I never felt like I was on the edge of my seat while reading this book), but mystery is where Barclay excelled in this book. I was really intrigued about why Sydney was missing and whether it was on her own accord or if she was abducted. I think that Barclay does a good job of keeping the reader guessing as to what clue will be uncovered next in Tim's search for Sydney. However, a few of the clues or leads that were a bit predictable or went in the direction I thought they would and you have to wait for Tim to catch up. Nonetheless, Barclay did a good job of having Tim discover false or misleading information that kept Tim and reader guessing. Additionally, as you continue to read you realize that there is more than one mystery that is unfolding with the information that Tim is able to obtain and you have no idea how everything is going to intersect till the end.

Tim overall was an interesting character. You can feel his struggle to keep going on his search for Sydney even when there are no clues for him to follow. The constant midnight drives just searching for her, but knowing that he has to get up to work the next day to keep paying the bills so that Sydney will have a home to come back to. I think the best way to describe Tim is a dog with a bone; you just cannot take that type of drive away from a person who is willing to keep searching no matter what. Tim also develops new characteristics throughout the book and does things that he would question in any other circumstance, but this is about finding his daughter and he will do anything to achieve that. I think how Tim develops and changes throughout the book were realistic and part of his own personal survival instinct.

I thought this book was going to be a thriller, but I found for the most part it lacked the thrills I wanted. However, Barclay knows how to write a mystery novel, so I am not quite ready to write this book off yet. I think I will check out another Barclay book to see if it has more of the thriller feel to it. Let me know if there are any that you would recommend.

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