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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Before you order this, you should be aware that it is not a full length novel, but only a novella which will take you maybe an hour - if that - to read.

Nevertheless it's a nifty little story about a con artist who poses as a psychic. She makes a living by visiting the relatives of missing people and extorting money from them in exchange for invented facts about their missing relatives. In this instance, her target is the anxious husband of a missing woman, whose fate we already know. The story unfolds alternating between the perspectives of different characters, with a couple of nice twists to hold your interest.

I applaud Linwood Barclay for recognizing it as the simple story that it is, rather than trying to stretch it out into a longer format. The perfect commuter read.
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on October 9, 2015
I'm a huge Linwood Barclay fan, and have been for the past few years. This novella is a nice introduction to his work, leaves you wanting more. While this story stands well on its own, it leads you to the full-length novel , "Never Saw It Coming", from which this story begins. Or ends, depending upon your point of view. You'll see what I mean if you get both books, which I found only through Amazon. Highly recommend this author as he's simply brilliant!!!
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on June 14, 2014
I was in the process of reading ALL o f Barclay's books and this one was nowhere to be found. Well, not at the local library or any branch in MD. However, Amazon has everything, and it had this. Not as good as the rest of his books, but I wanted to read it anyway.
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on March 12, 2011
Clouded Vision is a short story which is a bit different to Barclay's novels, where Harlan Coben style, an everyday type person suddenly facing a hurdle threatening their own or a family members life and we sit back and enjoy a nice long thriller where the central character will be tested to limits they didn't even know they had. What Barclay presents here is a con artist who preys on victims with a missing family member by listening to their responses to her questions and making up a fictitious story that seems plausible to her victims on the whereabouts of their loved one (after they've forked over her large fee of course). We the reader, from the first chapter know what has happened to a woman named Ellie however all Keisha Ceylon knows is what she saw on TV from the husband and heavily pregnant daughter's tearful media plea for information. We also know before Keisha arrives at the family home that she is a con artist but Wendell the missing woman's husband suspects but doesn't know this for sure, and if Keisha plays her con too well her days as a con artist will come to an end forever!

It's certainly no masterpiece, but it is a good simple short story. Although fans of Barclay expecting the normal challenge of working out who's behind the disappearance may be disappointed to not have that challenge by it being revealed early on in the story. Disappointingly with the main remainder of the story being pretty much just a how will these characters play out the drawn out his tension scene read, there aren't really any surprises, what you predict will happen is exactly what does. Also disappointing is that there is no real satisfaction level comeuppance for the villain either.

This isn't as good as Barclay's full length novels by any means, however you've got to remember this is a submission for Quick Reads so it does have to be written for a certain reading level. You've got to give the accolades to Barclay for becoming part of that worthy cause to increase literacy levels by encouraging those who don't like to read beyond magazines and comic books to try fiction through cheap priced short story length fiction. Those with that limited exposure to literature, I think will be less likely to see the predictability of the plot and will enjoy the more simpleness of the basic no possibility of confusion style story. A lot of other top name author contributors have put in pretty average submissions for Quick Reads, Barclay's Clouded Vision is one of the better contributions to this project.

Those who don't read novels will enjoy this. Any Barclay novel fan, also won't mind spending an hour or so of thier time picking up and reading this, especially if you can get it off the shelf at the cheap released price.
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VINE VOICEon February 28, 2011
This is a very short read and is priced as such. Certainly at the price is very good value.
This is going to last you somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour. Perfect for a short journey.
A dodgy clairvoyant seeks to profit from the disappearance of a wife and Mother only to find she may have stumbled onto something by mistake....This works, it is short and sweet but effective. I have read a few thriller anthologies of late and this would easily have fitted in and been as good as most in those anthologies. For a short book it still contains a few twists and agendas and does keep you gripped to the very last page.
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on October 17, 2013
I would reccommend these sellers. They were quick about getting books out. the books were all in shape described. very very satisfied with their service and look for them in the future for other purchases.
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on August 12, 2013
I had heard about this story when it was released as an e-story only for Kindle. Since that release Mr. Barclay went back and tinkered with it turning it into a novel of about 240 pages which fans of his will likely prefer. The novel was released in England and retitled Never Saw It Coming. I believe it is out here now.

I have been a fan of his since discovering his Zack Walker series. (By the way, there are four of them, not three. Somebody needs to actually learn what they are writing about.)

Barclay writes terrific suspense novels. This one is one of my top favorites as with every scene I could see Alfred Hitchcock directing it with loads of enthusiasm.
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on March 8, 2012
The strength of this story is not so much in the murder mystery, but in the intrusion of a fraudulent psychic who makes a living out of exploiting the vulnerable families of missing persons.

The prologue, entitled Setting the Scene: Ellie, describes the death and ingenious seclusion of the body from the victim's point of view. That builds the suspense on which the rest of the story is founded.

Each chapter describes the progress of the plot from the perspective of one of the characters, and the conclusion of this quick read is worth the wait. It is possible to read the whole book in just over an hour.

As I read, I could guess what was going to happen next, but only a few lines ahead of each event. I think that this is skillful writing. You don't want to be able to guess the ending in the first chapter. Equally, you don't want to arrive at several revelations in the final chapter for which there have been not a single clue on the way to that point.

Definitely recommended if you want a short, entertaining murder with twists story.
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on June 21, 2011
Being a Linwood Barclay fan, I was thrilled to see this novella available at an affordable price on my Kobo Touch. This is everything you expect from Barclay: characters with mixed motives, backgrounds that lead to tough decisions, and a plot that twists and turns. In a story that can be read in an hour, Barclay manages to keep us guessing till the end.

"Clouded Vision" brings back Keisha, a psychic of questionable powers who appeared in an earlier novel of his. Once again, Keisha hopes to make a quick buck (or one thousand bucks) off someone who has lost a loved one. In this case, a woman named Eleanor has gone missing, and Keisha approaches the grieving husband to offer her services for a price. But her conniving ways lead to unexpected consequences. Secrets are revealed. The truth is exposed. And everyone involved faces danger beyond that which they originally expected. So much for all their simple plans.

If you love the short stories of O. Henry with a modern twist, or if you love the modern mysteries of Coben and Barclay in a condensed form, "Clouded Vision" is a great way to spend an hour of easy reading.
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on July 4, 2011
Edgar Allan Poe invented the short story and Linwood Barclay carries on the tradition admirably with as good a tale as Poe himself might have created. Billed as a novella, it edges closer to the short story form, and, as such, was perfect.

The "trick" to creating a great suspense/mystery story is that the close reader is able to figure out the major turns just a sentence or two before the narrative delivers. This is one of the toughest things a writer can attempt to do. If the surprise is guessed at too soon, the reader regards it as unintelligent; if the reader is fooled always, he feels manipulated, as in those old O. Henry stories or Twilight Zone episodes, which is why they're no longer in vogue--no intelligent reader enjoys being manipulated. It's a balancing act that few writers are capable of pulling off--Barclay does and masterfully.

When the reader guesses correctly just before the twist is revealed, he subconsciously considers himself a pretty smart cookie. That's a reader, who by association with what he's just done, considers the writer equally smart and becomes a fan. If he's always surprised, that indicates a writer who's showing off and who doesn't really care about involving his reader. He's mostly concerned with showing how clever he is.

It's all in the timing. The reader who is disappointed at guessing the turns--even if just before they're revealed--is the kind of reader who reads solely on an entertainment and fairly superficial level. That's a person who mostly wants to be titillated and cares little about the literary quality. A person who reads most stories one time. Once they know what happens, they're off to another "entertainment." The stories by a writer such as Poe are read over and over. They don't appeal to the more superficial reader for the reasons stated above--once they know how it turns out they're onto something else. Nothing wrong with that--but that's a reader more of today than in older times when people read for more than just the entertainment value. Today, many want to go to the movie or read the book, find out what happened, and then that book is put away forever and that movie isn't viewed again.

This is a "Poe-quality" or "Chekhov-quality" story. One many readers will return to more than once. Even when we know the twists. It has that almost undefinable quality the best writing delivers.

And, that's why it deserves five stars and not four.
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