Tag Archives: Linwood Barclay

Book Review: Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay

Title: Never Look Away
Author: Linwood Barclay
Publisher: Orion Books, HBG
ISBN: 978-1-4091-2091-9
Genre: Thriller
PP: 513 pages
Price: Rs. 295
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

Don’t read this book! Not unless you’re prepared to give up sleeping until you finish it. And maybe for a while afterwards. Yep, it’s that good.

Davis Harwood is an ordinary guy, with an ordinary family, living in an ordinary small town. But he has a problem: his wife is depressed and seems to be edging towards suicide. When she buys tickets so they can go to an amusement park for the day, David thinks maybe she’s getting better. But shortly after they get there, their son disappears. David finds him, but now his wife has disappeared. Suddenly, David’s life turns into a waking nightmare where things just keep getting worse.

Lincoln Barclay grabs your throat in the first chapter and never lets go. Unlike a lot of entries in the genre, none of these characters have the unbelievable deductive powers, superhuman strength, or friends conveniently working in key positions. The good guys do their best, make mistakes, then regroup and try again. The bad guys are not possessed by some sort of demonic evil, they’re in it for the money but just don’t care who gets hurt along the way. And good luck figuring out who is really good, who is really bad, and who is sliding along in the middle somewhere.

The characters are so well fleshed-out, and so believable, you could swear you’ve met some of them before. Everything makes sense in context, so you never shake your head and wonder, “why would he ever do something so stupid?” The plot moves briskly; so briskly you won’t have time to anticipate the twists and turns and shocks. You travel right along with David and can’t shake the eerie, uncomfortable feeling that it could all have very well happened to you.

I don’t want to reveal any more of the plot for fear of giving away too much. I’ll just say that this is one of the twistiest of the twisty suspense novels I’ve read, that some intriguing questions of identity arise, and that there are multiple story lines, with the point of view alternating between David’s compelling, first-person narration and the viewpoints of various other characters in the third person. David is a likable, intelligent, ordinary man caught up in perilously extraordinary circumstances, and young Ethan and David’s parents are other sympathetic characters the reader will care about.

This book has major motion picture written all over it. But don’t wait for the movie, buy the book and read it now. It gets my highest recommendation!