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No Time for Goodbye Mass Market Paperback – August 26, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 523 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When Cynthia was 14 years old, her family disappeared without a trace. Twenty-five years later, Cynthia has her own family and though sometimes overprotective of her daughter, she has become a functioning adult. But as she and her husband, Terry, attempt to live normal lives, hints and clues begin appearing that bring Cynthia back to that night years ago. Lane blesses this twisting novel with a fantastic performance, which improves the overall narrative experience. At first, some voices may seem like vocal caricatures, but given each character's development, listeners soon realize how well chosen the voice has been. Lane also displays an impressive range, including such believable characters as a middle-aged thug, a sinister old woman and Cynthia's precocious daughter. Told through the eyes of Terry, Lane also seamlessly augments his tone throughout as Terry grapples to figure out the mystery that haunts his family.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

After turning out four mystery novels featuring science-fiction author Zack Walker (the most recent is Stone Rain, 2007), Toronto Star columnist Barclay pens a stand-alone thriller that carries his signature blend of humor and suspense. Fourteen-year-old Cynthia Bigge wakes up one morning to find her entire family gone. Twenty-five years later, their unexplained disappearance still haunts her. She agrees to appear on the reenactment show Deadline, hoping the TV exposure might provide her with some answers, although her husband, English teacher Terry Archer, is considerably more skeptical. Indeed, not long after the show airs, the two are shaken down by a psychic, receive a series of bizarre phone calls, and become the victims of a break-in, although nothing is taken; instead, something is left—a hat that Cynthia is convinced belonged to her father. As Cynthia's paranoia escalates, Terry's patience wears thin, and the two decide to hire a private detective. That's when the mayhem starts. Despite a few implausible plot turns, this fast-paced read is bound to please, offering an especially intriguing premise and plenty of irreverent humor. Wilkinson, Joanne --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; English Language edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553590421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553590425
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (523 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm in publishing, so I get the chance to read quite a few thrillers before they're released, and NO TIME FOR GOODBYE made my top-10 list of the year. The premise is stunning: a teenage girl wakes up to find her family gone. Her father, mother, and brother have simply vanished, leaving her to deal with the painful aftermath of abandonment. Or are they dead? She never finds out... until years later, when she's happily married, with a child of her own. Suddenly new clues arise that make her wonder if her parents and brother may still be alive. But then, why did they leave her?

It's her husband who narrates the tale, and as the story twists and turns, even he wonders about the sanity of his own wife. The ending is a stunning surprise. Deeply satisfying, emotionally wrenching, this is one terrific book.
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Format: Hardcover
No Time for Goodbye is marketed as a can't-put-it-down suspense thriller, and while the description is appropriate, the book is much more than that. Like Linwood Barclay's novels featuring Zack Walker, No Time for Goodbye is more character- than plot-driven. Yes, there is a clever, intricately-woven plot, but what distinguises this novel from the typical thriller is that the characters seem like real people, not just convenient plot devices. Barclay has the ability to draw us into the lives of his characters, so we come to genuinely care for them, and don't want anything bad to happen to them. And, most unusual for a novel in the suspense genre, there are some truly touching passages, at least two of which brought tears to my eyes. This is definitely not your run-of-the-mill suspense thriller.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was drawn to this book by the blurb on the back because the plot looked interesting and unique - and it was. For the most part, this was a good book and I enjoyed reading it. I would give it a firm 3 1/2 stars in an Amazon review for that alone. I just had a couple of problems that kept me from giving it 4 or higher. First, as someone said already, the plot is telegraphed clearly in the first 25 pages. I caught it and had everything figured out before I was halfway through the book. It was also easy to forsee the convenient twist at the end so there were no surprises there. It's just not a tight enough plot and for that reason, I couldn't give it high marks. I also need to tell anyone who is sensitive in this area, the profanity is excessive from the first page to the last. I can take a reasonable amount of it but in this book, it was just over-the-top for me, so be warned if that's a problem for you. Frankly, I don't quite understand why a talented author feels he or she has to drench a book in that unless it's character-appropriate.
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Format: Hardcover
Those familiar with Linwood Barclay's previous novels, take note: NO TIME FOR GOODBYE is quite a different work for him. There is not a trace of good old Zack Walker here, though protagonist Terry Archer, a high school English teacher, could be decent buds with him should their paths ever cross. While the Walker books --- BAD MOVE, BAD GUYS, LONE WOLF and STONE RAIN --- were suburban caper novels, occasionally bordering on the comedic, NO TIME FOR GOODBYE is the stuff of nightmarish mystery.

Terry Archer is married to Cynthia Bigge, a woman with a past. Cynthia was a semi-rebellious 14-year-old when her family vanished overnight from their suburban Connecticut home. She had it better than most would have in such circumstances, being taken in and raised by a loving aunt and later meeting and marrying Terry, a supporting husband who truly loves her even as he is occasionally plagued by her understandable overprotectiveness of their daughter and his fleeting self-doubt over Cynthia's story.

Things come to a head, however, when a television news magazine does a feature on the mysterious, long-ago disappearance of Cynthia's family. Cynthia suddenly feels as if she is being followed; she sees a man at a shopping mall who, she is certain, is a grownup version of her missing brother; and her father's trademark fedora is found resting on their kitchen table. Terry is not completely sure that his wife isn't perhaps making some of it up, as a secondary symptom of some serious emotional problems. His love for her is such, however, that he gives her the benefit of the doubt.
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Format: Hardcover
I read NO TIME FOR GOODBYE because of the hook: a rebellious teenage girl wakes up in the morning to find her entire family gone. The story then moves ahead twenty-five years and Cynthia Bigge still has no idea what happened to her family.

Most of the story is narrated by Cynthia's husband Terry Archer. He's an English/creative writing teacher in Milford, Connecticut. Linwood Barclay wisely incorporates Archer's job environment, making the story seem more real. He is good friends with the principal, who knew Cynthia's father, and there's a talented young girl in his writing class, Jane Scavullo, who only does well in his class. Both will play huge roles later on in the plot. When Cynthia begins receiving strange messages Terry reluctantly sets out to find out what's going on.

There's also a dialogue going on between two mysterious characters. The reader naturally assumes they're Cynthia's lost mother and brother, still alive. Cynthia was raised by her aunt Tess, who when she is diagnosed as terminally ill, gives Terry clues as to what happened to Cynthia's family.

One of my favorite characters was Vince Fleming, the boy Cynthia was with the night her family disappeared. Fleming has criminal ties, but he's going with Jane Scavullo's mother and he's bonded with Jane. Vince furnishes the clue that sets Terry on his way to solving the dilemma.

If you're paying close attention, there's an early clue that'll give the whole plot away. I knew what was going on about twenty pages in. Some of the other connections---Terry's principal's involvement in the plot, Jance Scavullos relationship with the boy Cynthia was with during the night her family disappeared---seem a bit too convenient, but you can find that in any book if you look hard enough. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book. Non-serial thrillers have one advantage over serials: You never know for sure if one of your favorite characters is going to make it.
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