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Too Close to Home: A Thriller Mass Market Paperback – July 28, 2009

165 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Canadian author Barclay's previous novel, No Time for Goodbye (2007), a Thriller Award–finalist, showed that he knows how to put ordinary people into extraordinarily dangerous circumstances. Barclay works some of that same magic in his second stand-alone thriller, which opens with the shooting deaths of Albert and Donna Langley and their teenage son, Adam, in their Promise Falls, N.Y., home one hot summer night. Bill Cutter, a neighbor who works as a gardener and was once the driver and glorified gofer without an ounce of self-respect for the town's nasty mayor, and Bill's wife, Ellen, soon find themselves wondering who would want to kill the Langleys and what part their sullen 17-year-old son and Adam's friend, Derek, may have played in the tragedy. While this one isn't quite up to the standard of No Time for Goodbye—its convoluted plot creaks occasionally—readers will zip through it with delight. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Derek Cutter, a high-school student, takes advantage of his neighbors’ vacation and hides in their house when they leave. He envisions his girlfriend coming over and having a quiet run of the house and a chance to get to know each other better. While calling her to come over, he is surprised by the neighbors’ return. Thinking they forgot something, he hides in the crawlspace in the basement and waits for them to leave. A few minutes later, however, he hears a doorbell and gunshots. When he finally gets the courage to go upstairs, he discovers their dead bodies. The ensuing chaos will disrupt a small town and devastate him and his family. Barclay tackles a scary scenario and with the proper twists and turns creates an engaging thriller. Excessive profanity sometimes distracts to the point of grinding the story line to a halt, but that quibble aside, this is a gripping read. --Jeff Ayers --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (July 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055359043X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553590432
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #466,112 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Mr James N Simpson on September 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
I hadn't even heard of Linwood Barclay less than a month ago but after discovering his sensational novel No Time for Goodbye I eagerly looked for everything else he'd written. Too Close to Home is another sensational Harlan Coben style novel with a totally different plot but written in the same way that No Time for Goodbye was.

Like with No Time for Goodbye we the reader are initially inside the head of not who will become the main character of the book but one of their family members in their teens. This time around we've got Derek whose got a plan to climb into his next door neighbours, the Langley's wallspace, so when they lock their house and depart on a trip he can unlock the backdoor and let his girlfriend Penny in for a few days of alone time and the action he's been waiting all his life for. Problem is his plan starts falling apart when the Langley's unaware he is in their house open the front door and are gunned down. Derek is undiscovered and spared as obviously no one expected him to be there, only he can't tell his parents or anyone else he was there or they'll punish him.

The main character of narrator of the book is Derek's father Jim Cutter. Jim has no idea why the family next door was gunned down but theorises his family is safe due to even if being a totally random killing the killers wouldn't come back to the same area twice. Promise Falls is a small town after all.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Julia Flyte TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Jim Cutter is shocked when his neighbours, the Langleys, are murdered, but even more shocked when it turns out that Derek his teenage son is keeping a secret about the crime and that all the evidence points to him. As suspicion turns on his family, Jim starts to do some investigating of his own into who might have committed the murders. As he starts to uncover some long-buried secrets, his own life comes under risk.

This is the second book by Linwood Barclay that I have read. I enjoyed No Time for Goodbye, but felt that the ending let it down. Too Close to Home is just as readable but also hangs together better. It's an accomplished mystery that grabs you early and keeps you turning the pages late. Linwood Barclay's writing style is similar to that of Harlan Coben's and the cliffhanger endings to each chapter keep you wanting to read just one more. There are a lot of different strands to the book (at least one of which is a total red herring), and while parts of the mystery are quite predictable, there were a couple of twists that I definitely didn't spot in advance. The final resolution is somewhat far-fetched (so often the case with this genre), but overall it's a clever story that's been well thought through. The central narrator is likeable and the relationship with his teenage son feels very believable.

I do have one significant criticism of this book and it's hard to explain it without giving anything away, but there's one central secret that someone has kept because they thought they would be compromised and I just didn't believe that they would have felt the need to do that. However I still really enjoyed Too Close To Home. I read this book when I was in hospital recently and it was the perfect lightweight diversion. If you like Harlan Coben's books, I'm pretty sure that you will enjoy this too.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By E. Abraham on September 8, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the second book I've read from Linwood Barclay and there are certain common elements in each of them. The bottom line is Barclay is a far better storyteller than writer. The characters are shallow and the dialog in this one, as well as "No Time For Goodbye" is banal and unrealistic; however, the plot itself keeps the reader engaged and turning the pages. The story is generally well-crafted; however, the "twist" in the plot is a dead-giveaway for anyone paying the slightest attention. The problem, to me, is that characters just relate to each other in ways that seem forced. An educated, artistic couple swear repeatedly in casual conversation with their teenage son. A woman has an affair with a man and, not only does her husband manage to get over this transgression, but he is actually accepting of her working for the same man she cheated with. The main character is intelligent enough to figure out complex aspects of the mystery, yet he is foolish enough to let his son work alone with a mysterious stranger, who happened to show up just after several murders were committed in town. And, as seems to always be the case in pop culture, the evil intolerant politician here is once again a "right winger". It would be refreshing if writers and movie producers made the bad guys left wingers from time to time. Lord knows, there are plenty of real life examples to use for reference.

Overall, this is a decent read, even if the ending is a bit predictable and far-fetched at the same time.
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