Monday, May 31, 2010

Review: NEVER LOOK AWAY by Linwood Barclay

NEVER LOOK AWAY by Linwood Barclay (Orion, 2010)

Reviewed by Craig Sisterson

Small town reporter David Harwood’s life is turned big-time upside down when his wife Jan disappears during a family outing to a local theme park. Bad becomes worse when information David gives the police about Jan’s recent depression, combined with other unexplainable events, gets the authorities thinking David might not be a distraught husband, but a man with a murder to hide. Could Jan’s disappearance have something to do with the council corruption David has been investigating? When a body turns up, so are the stakes, and David finds himself in a desperate search for the truth, however horrible that might be.

Barclay first shot to wider attention and fame when his thriller NO TIME FOR GOODBYE became the biggest-selling book overall in the United Kingdom in 2008. His next two standalone novels (he doesn’t feature recurring characters) clinched his reputation as the master of suburban terror, and with NEVER LOOK AWAY he’s created another chilling page-turner; a superb tale that eschews spies and super-cops and brings thrills and spills much closer to home. The chills and thrills are all the more real because he scratches the surface of suburban fears in a tale that even when you think you’ve worked it all out, still manages to surprise. Right now there are few better than Barclay at crafting pulse-pounding storylines centred on seemingly nondescript ‘heroes’.

A word of warning: start NEVER LOOK AWAY only when you've got time to read it all, because one you’re a few pages in, you might not be able to put it down. A great, engrossing read.

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