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Never Look Away: A Thriller Mass Market Paperback – July 19, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 262 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2010 With a storyline that's wound tighter than a rattlesnake's coil, author Linwood Barclay returns to play upon our deepest fears with Never Look Away. Journalist David Harwood is left only with questions after a family outing becomes a terrifying nightmare in the mere blink of an eye. Someone, it would seem, is out to get him, and when suspicious evidence labels him a “person of interest” in a mysterious disappearance, the unassuming Harwood is forced to bare his teeth in pursuit of the truth. Fans of Fear the Worst, Too Close to Home, and No Time for Goodbye should already know the drill: Barclay refuses to grant readers any respite with gut-wrenching plot twists that keep firing until the final page. But those unfamiliar with his work would be wise to clear their calendars for this engaging non-stop thriller. --Dave Callanan

Amazon Exclusive: Linwood Barclay on Never Look Away

Years ago, when I worked on the city desk for The Toronto Star, every once in a while someone would phone in with a hot tip. Something they’d heard from a friend of a friend. The story was that children were being spirited away from a local theme park. Grabbed, disguised, thrown into a van and driven away so fast their parents hadn’t even noticed they were gone yet.

And the kicker was, the story was being suppressed because the theme park owners didn’t want bad publicity.

There was never, ever anything to it. I’d worked in the news business long enough to know that when a kid goes missing. That story gets out. Big time.

Our theme park was not the only one where this urban myth played out. I’d heard the same story about a number of big attractions. But never with any real names attached. It always happened to the boyfriend of someone’s cousin’s brother’s boss.

But the story stayed with me just the same. I started playing around with it in my head. I thought, okay, let’s start with the myth, but then let’s do something entirely different. Someone’s going to disappear, all right, but not the person you’re expecting...

As I began working out the storyline for my new thriller, Never Look Away, the amusement park scene became a way in to a very different kind of tale for me. One about secrets, about past, hidden lives, about how sometimes the people we’re closest to are the ones we know the least. One significant way in which it differs from my previous novels is that it is not told entirely in first person. This time, there were things I had to keep from my protagonist that the reader just had to know.

That time on the city desk was part of more than 30 years I spent working in newspapers. It was a period in which papers mattered a great deal. They still do, but it’s hardly news to point out they’re facing tough times, a perfect storm of changing technology meeting harsh economic realities. So when it came to deciding what that protagonist would do for a living, I decided to make him a reporter at a small daily that’s more concerned with maintaining revenues than breaking scandals, especially if breaking them will hurt the bottom line. (I like to point out, I never encountered anything like that at The Star.)

I was well into writing this novel when Michael Connelly’s terrific novel The Scarecrow came out, which is also set against the backdrop of a newspaper in decline. I suspect these will not be the only two novels to explore--either in depth or in a tangential way--the significant changes this institution is going through.

Another urban myth that used to get called into the paper now and again was that some unscrupulous developer was building houses so cheaply, someone’s piano went right through the living room floor. We never found that house, but there might still be a murder mystery in that story, especially if there was some poor bastard in that basement. --Linwood Barclay

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Bestseller Barclay's outstanding thriller, his fourth stand-alone after Fear the Worst, opens with what should be a happy family outing—a trip to an amusement park. Shortly after newspaper reporter David Harwood; his wife, Jan; and their four-year-old son, Ethan, arrive at Five Mountains in upper New York State, Ethan disappears. A frantic Jan goes to find security, while David soon locates Ethan nearby asleep in his stroller. But now Jan is missing. What's more, the park has no record of selling her a ticket, and she doesn't show up on any security video. Nor is she at home in Promise Falls, N.Y. While the police suspect David killed Jan and concocted the park abduction story, he uses his reporting skills to dig into his wife's past and learns he never really knew her. The tension mounts as Barclay skillfully shows how even the most innocent action can seem suspicious. The surprising twists and appealing characters rank this among the author's best. 5-city author tour. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reprint edition (July 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553591746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553591743
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (262 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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? )
I have read all of Linwood Barclay's back-list and I must say that this one is better than the last two and I'm relieved that he's pulled back a little with the unbelievable endings and returned to writing a taut mystery thriller that is both fast paced and suspenseful. I found both Fear the Worst: A Thriller and Too Close to Home: A Thriller to be just way too over the top and am glad that Barclay has returned to a style similar to the one used with what I consider to be my favorite of his novels, No Time for Goodbye. Yeah, all his books require a bit of suspension of disbelief at the scenarios, but the main character -- almost consistently a family man with a wife and child -- is usually a sympathetic protagonist and one whom you want to see get to the bottom of the mystery.

In this novel, newspaper reporter David Harwood is investigating what might be corruption with regard to a new privatized prison that is being hawked as the next best thing for the small town of Promise Falls, New York. He's married to Jan and they have a 4 year old son named Ethan. One day, while they're at an amusement park, one of them disappears!! David races from place to place to figure out what is going on and, although several subplots are brewing simultaneously, the energy and the narrative keep the reader glued to the pages. Even though the reader knows what is happening and why, it's a fun romp to the end.

If you like a good mystery thriller, you'll enjoy this one. Recommend.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Linwood Barclay excells are writing books in which the average middle class guy (a car salesman in Fear the Worst: A Thriller , a newspaper reporter in this book) has his whole life turned upside down and is thrust into a world of crime, violence and intrigue. His books remind me of the old-fashioned film noire style except these are quicker and have even more turns.

In "Never Look Away", David Harwood is a reporter with a wife, a son, two loving parents who babysit their son and a hot lead on signs of corruption in local government that will make an explosive story. Suddenly, his wife disappears at a local theme park and he is accused of causing her disappearance.

More problems pile on and the pressure makes David and his world crumble.

There is a point in which the reader says, "What? Even more happens to this guy?"

Does it get ridiculous?


More importantly, does the story work?


This is a real page turner. I found myself losing real chunks of time if I picked this book up during my morning routine. I was nearly late to work two days in a row because I had to keep reading a little bit more.

I look forward to the next one, Mr. Barclay.
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Format: Hardcover
David Harwood has been working on a story of Star Spangled Corrections, a privately run correctional corporation, wanting to build a prison in his town. David has records of payoffs of politicians but his editors delay in publishing it.

One day, David, his wife Jan, and their four year old son, Ethan, go to an amusement park. As they approach the front gate, Jan remembers something in the car and tells David she'll meet him inside. She never shows.

After alerting park officials and doing an extensive search, police are called in and after a bit begin to suspect that David did something to his wife.

Things are baffeling and the reader wonders how they could be. But the author is providing a cover for his clever plot.

David is a smypathetic character. His plight is tragic but we also witness what his wife is up to and wonder how a reporter like David can't see things more clearly. Jan is a true Machiavellian figure, out only for herself. She's totally unlikable but this is part of the author's intent so we feel worse for her husband.

The plot is magnificent. Barklay is like a master fisherman, casting lines in different spots and then reeling them back with a story that catches the reader's breath.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So if Stephen King liked it so much I figured it can't be that bad. He was right! From start to finish the story unfolds like a modern day Hitchcock movie. Regular guy gets into an unusual situation, kid goes missing at the amusement park, then it gets really interesting. Without giving away any twists and turns, the story is revealed mainly as the main character, David Harwood, discovers more and more about his wife's mysterious past. It's all believable really, no one is a superhero, no one is super smart, people make decisions and are guided by ambition and greed. In David's case he's driven by the fact he's being set up and wants his family back together again. So with his family in danger, the cops think he's the main suspect, and a shady prison developer all against him, how will David manage to get out of this one? Good question, and it's not answered until the final pages and even then there are not many winners at the end of this. Great read, fast paced, solid action. I hope they make it into a movie one day. I look forward to reading more of Linwood Barclay's other books. Enjoy!
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