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.)
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