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Never Look Away: A Thriller Hardcover – March 9, 2010

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Editorial Reviews 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

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.

Read the prologue to Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay [PDF].

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; First Edition edition (March 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055380717X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553807172
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (231 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #349,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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

There were time while reading this book, that I couldn't put it down even when my eyes were burning.
It's definitely a page turner, suspenseful with lots of twists and turns that keep you engrossed to the very end.
J. Stroh
I would highly recommend it if you like thrillers, which I do so plan to read more books by this author.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Denise Crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 13, 2010
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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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By DWD's Reviews VINE VOICE on February 26, 2010
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By StateOfOpinion on March 19, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have to say, I was a bit apprehensive going in. I saw the front cover review that claimed, "The best thriller I've read in five years." by none other than Stephen King.
Yeah well, every book says "This is the best ever" or "A great read, pages fly by!" And I read them and find that the only pages that are flying are the ones I'm skipping over to FINALLY end the book.
Plus I was even more of a skeptic because I don't put much stock in what Stephen King says since I've read some really bad books by him lately.

But Stephen, you weren't far off this time. While it WASN'T the best I've read in FIVE years, it WAS definitely one of the BETTER books I've read THIS year. Stephen King also said, "The writing is crisp; the twists are jolting and completely unexpected." it too was MOSTLY true.
A few of the twists I saw coming, and some things I figured out before the "jolt" had time to get me. But in more cases I found that the plot or endgame went places I wasn't expecting, and left me thinking "Whoa, didn't see THAT coming."

So congratulations Linwood Barclay, for NOT taking the easy road, for ACTUALLY delivering suspense, and for surprising ME; someone who way too often figures it out, sees every "twist", and finishes "great suspense-thrillers" with a yawn, and a chuck into the library donate box.
Thank you, for tying up loose ends, for making me THINK and be WRONG, and lastly but most importantly, thank you for making me finish this book and say "That was a GOOD book."

I'm passing this novel on to a friend of mine, who has just as much a passion for books as me.
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