Number of pages: 513
I have read and enjoyed Linwood Barclay’s previous novels, but I must admit that I had mixed feelings about this one.
So, the main character, David Harewood, goes to an amusement park with his family, when his wife suddenly disappears; it’s a variation on the opening that I’ve read in two of Barclay’s previous novels.
The book then goes into a flashback for the next few chapters, explaining who David is and how he has been trying to expose a corrupt politician and how his wife has been having suicidal thoughts. It seemed a bit of a strange thing to do, and it might have been so the book with a chapter that really set things in motion fast without the dull preamble putting the readers off.
The one thing I found quite strange was that, although a lot of the book is written in the first person, from David’s point of view, there are several chapters that focus on other characters, written in the third person. The constant switching of perspectives is a bit weird, and I never like seeing it in a book; it would have been better entirely written in third person perspective. The other problem was that the reader ends up finding stuff out long before David does, and a lot of the time I was just waiting for him to find out what I had known for the last hundred pages; it was a bit like if the reader found out the identity of a killer long before Sherlock Holmes.
Anyway – spoilers behind the cut:
A character is introduced in the book, who is introduced as “the woman”, and it doesn’t take much to figure out, long before the book casually informs the reader, that she is actually David’s wife, who has been using a fake name all the time and is really a criminal, although for some time she is referred to as “Kate”. She also adopted the name of a girl who died many years ago, and you will probably figure out her actual identity long before it is spelled out in the book. The whole political corruption story is constantly used to appear to have some relevance, but it ends up as a big red herring that has nothing much to do with the rest of the story at all. I liked the fact that, even though the wife turned out to be a liar, there were a lot of hints that she had some compassion and that she would actually redeem herself in some way.
Overall, it made for an entertaining story, but it definitely was not the best Linwood Barclay novel that I have read.
Next book: War Reporting for Cowards by Chris Ayres