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Linwood Barclay is a #1 bestselling crime novelist in Britain and a major European suspense star. So when I received the advanced reading copy of his latest novel, Fear the Worst, my first reaction was guilt—what rock have I been hiding under that I’ve never heard of an author who counts Michael Connelly, Tess Gerritsen, and Joseph Finder among his fans? My next response was sheer anticipation. There’s nothing better than discovering a great new author. I immediately cracked open Fear the Worst, hoping for the best.
Long and short of it—Barclay delivers on the hype. Fear the Worst starts with one of the better opening lines I’ve read in a while: “The morning of the day I lost her, my daughter asked me to scramble her some eggs.” It’s such a simple sentence, speaking of everyday domesticity. You can picture a father. You can picture a daughter. Yet you’re already filled with dread. A bad thing has happened. And yeah, for the next four hundred pages, the bad thing gets a lot worse.
This tension-filled dichotomy of an ordinary man caught in extraordinary circumstances isn’t new territory. Harlan Coben would be drawn to this plot, not to mention a few others. But Barclay writes with a voice that’s all his own. His ordinary man, Timothy Blake, is at that middle-aged point in life where he’s racking up more losses than wins. First marriage has collapsed. Car dealership went down the drain. Parenting a teenage daughter remains a mystery. Blake is a man who’s down but not out, which makes his efforts to find his missing daughter realistic, compelling and completely nerve-wracking.
The supporting cast is equally well-done: the prickly ex-wife; the daughter’s troubled BFF; the female detective who seems to spend most of her time on the phone dealing with her own kid. Barclay excels at creating people you immediately recognize, and even if you don’t like them all, you understand them. He also stays true to his characters; Blake doesn’t magically turn into Rambo just because bad guys are now trying to gun him down. The prickly ex-wife doesn’t suddenly crave reconciliation, just because they’re now working together to find their child. By not taking the easy road, Barclay sets the stage for several shocking plot twists, not to mention one helluva dramatic climax.
Previous Barclay fans should enjoy this fast-paced outing. And if you’ve been hiding under a rock like me, time to crawl out and discover a great new author. —Lisa Gardner
This is a hard to put down book. As Tim Davis discovers one day when his young adult daughter disappears, the world is a big place. Read morePublished 24 days ago by David E. Meadows
I "discovered" Linwood Barclay a few weeks ago, and he's quickly become one of my favorite authors. Read morePublished 2 months ago by audrey pierce
this was typical type of work from this author. I have read 4 in a row and see common themes with the protagonist very similar characters. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kathy
The story here was good BUT the foul language used was totally unnecessary! I didn't count but the "F" word, or some version of it was used well over a hundred times. Read morePublished 2 months ago by JOHN WATHEN
Holy cow, I love this guy! I first read his "Trust Your Eyes," and I loved it. I try not to read an author back-to-back, because I usually catch on to their writing style... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Liz Marshall
This was an EXCELLENT book. The characters were very real and excellently portrayed. It kept your interest until the very end. I'd highly recommend.Published 3 months ago by Tom M
There's a blurb on the spine that proclaims Fear The Worst to be a "one-sit thriller". Or something like that. Read morePublished 3 months ago by wwetaa