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Fear the Worst: A Novel Hardcover – August 11, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 210 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Exclusive: Lisa Gardner Reviews Fear the Worst

Lisa Gardner is the New York Times bestselling author of eleven novels, including Say Goodbye and The Neighbor. She lives with her husband and daughter in New England. She is currently at work on her next thriller, Live to Tell, which will be publish in 2010. Read her exclusive Amazon guest review of Fear the Worst:

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

From Publishers Weekly

In Barclay's new thriller, Tim Blake, a car salesman in a Honda dealership in Milford, Conn., has more troubles than a Yugo up for its inspection sticker: his wife has left him to shack up with a car dealer rival; he has a devil-wears-Prada–style boss; and, worst, his teenage daughter, Sydney, has disappeared from her summer job at the Just Inn Time hotel. Barclay does a decent job of depicting the fright, fantasies and rage of a parent whose child faces prolonged and uncertain danger, but the narrator exists chiefly as a sketch or plot device rather than a complex, compelling individual. The author explores a timely social issue, human trafficking, but the villains behind it are even less defined than the narrator. Still, Barclay (Bad Move) earns a solid A for his page-turning plot. In short, this is a functional stripped-down Civic of a book that gets you there. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (August 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553807161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553807165
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,599,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Related Media

More About the Author

Linwood Barclay is a former columnist for The Toronto Star and the author of several critically acclaimed novels, including Too Close to Home and No Time for Goodbye, a #1 Sunday Times (UK) bestseller. He lives near Toronto with his wife.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Tim Blake is just an ordinary divorced dad. He's good at his job (selling cars), average at his parenting, mediocre at dating... His biggest problem is putting up with his ex-wife's new boyfriend. When Tim's 17 year old daughter, Sidney, comes to stay with him for the summer he faces the usual parenting worries. Until the day when Sydney doesn't come home from work and Tim's average life is turned upside down. Suddenly, Tim is racing against time to reveal the truth about his daughter's disappearance.

This book was easy to read, and hard to put down. Of course there were the predictable plot twists: incompetent police, deceptive sub-plots, etc. But it was still an enjoyable read. The main character, Tim Blake, was well written; his angst over losing his daughter, and his approach to finding the truth were believable. I hate when the main character keeps bumbling over dumb moves and mistakes, (or conversely, when an ordinary character all of a sudden has super spy skills and training). So I was happy with the way the father was portrayed.

Overall, I was really happy with this story. Not super heavy or deep, but it will keep your interest from start to finish.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have just finished this book, which actually caused me to lose some sleep, since it was hard to put down, especially in the beginning. The premise of the story is that a 17 year old girl, who is staying with her father for the summer, disappears. Everything he thought he knew about her seems to be an illusion. This is the story of his quest to find her, with many high action adventures along the way. You have to keep reading to find out where she is.
The writing style is quick, the characters are easy enough to relate to; ordinary folks, the father is a car salesman, but the story is far fetched and not believable, getting (at least for me) more unrealistic as it goes, and the ending was not satisfactory, it kind of leaves you hanging. For me, this was a quick read, which was hard to put down, but also rather predictable in spots and I probably will not remember much of it for long. This is the type of book that you can take on an airplane, not too deep, you don't have to pay close attention to follow what is going on, but it does hold your interest.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I actually feel guilty because I absolutely LOVE every book I've read by Linwood Barclay but for some reason I seem to forget about him (he's not on my "watch list") until I stumble across one. I'm so glad I found this one. He never disappoints. If you are looking for a good thriller, look no further than Linwood Barclay.

In this outing, Tim Blake is a divorced dad, not really over his ex, probably not living up to his full potential in life, but comfortably. His 17-year-old daughter Sydney is spending the summer with him instead of living with his ex and her boyfriend, a rich car dealer. (It just so happens that Blake is also a car salesman, but not such a sleaze as the new boyfriend, Bob).

Sydney goes missing one morning after a fight with her dad. When he tries to find her, he discovers that the place she said she worked never heard of her. Her best friend, who you know is somewhat hinky and is obviously wild, tries to help (perhaps too much?). Blake does everything he can to find Sydney. Think of the movie "Taken" but with and ordinary father who doesn't know what happened to his daughter and with cops who are not really helpful.

This book had me on the edge throughout. I really, really enjoy Barclay's novels. I honestly couldn't figure out what was going on completely until the end. My only complaint would be that the ending was a bit abrupt -- I would have liked to see an epilogue to tie up a few loose strings, but otherwise it was top notch. I'd also recommend his other thrillers. And keep him on your watch list. Great writing and great thrillers, suspenseful reading!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a really good story. The author has just the right number of characters and the tension escalates as the story expands. If you also have an interest in cars (especially Honda) you will enjoy the many references to the goings on in car dealerships. Although such things are not hugely relevant to the plot, it adds a great deal to the storytelling.

Of course, the police are stereotyped as a bit slow and lagging behind. Not surprising as the story rides along at a good clip and nearly all the characters are well defined and believable. There are even a few funny moments, but I won't spoil the fun.

As a regular reader of thrillers, this author and book are almost up there with the very best. I heartily recommend you buy this book and am sure it will provide very worthwhile enjoyment.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay

Wow! What a rollercoaster ride! Linwood Barclay certainly has the thriller suspense part of writing down. This is a fast paced story that is hard to stop reading!
Tim Blake has a morning argument with his teenage daughter Sydney not knowing that it is the last time he will speak to her before finding out she is missing.
The characters, especially Tim, were very real and the emotions are portrayed in a very realistic and moving way. There are also other subplots involving the other characters, all just as interesting and move along cohesively with the main plot.
I really loved everything about this book but the ending fell flat for me, I wish Barclay had continued for a few more pages to wrap up better.
Even though the ending was blasé, I would still recommend it for a great suspenseful read.
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