on September 29, 2007
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.
on November 9, 2007
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.
on October 27, 2008
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.
on October 30, 2007
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.
Things are ratcheted up a notch or three when Terry and Cynthia hire a private investigator, whose questions spark a pair of horrendous occurrences that in turn bring the events that began over a quarter century before to a shocking conclusion.
While Barclay's work has always been enjoyable and worth reading, NO TIME FOR GOODBYE is in a class all by itself. Barclay is simply marvelous as he appears to repeatedly paint himself into a corner, only to deftly exit through the door that happened to be there all along, in plain view. As I approached the conclusion, I couldn't help but shout "OF COURSE!" as all was revealed. The author plays fair, providing a clue or two early on as to the impetus behind the disappearance of three-quarters of the Bigge family. But a good deal of the enjoyment of the book is not so much the surprise of the solution but the manner in which Barclay carries it off.
--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
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.
This is my third mystery suspense thriller that I have read by Linwood Barclay. Never Look Away was good, The Accident was excellent and No Time For Goodbye was absolutely fantastic. This author knows how to grab a reader's attention and keep them guessing while sitting firmly in their chair rapidly flipping pages from beginning to the conclusion of the book. What makes this book so much better than the others is that it is haunting. I have read many other books since I set this one down, yet it is still fresh in my mind.
The prologue sets the scene. Fourteen year old Cynthia Bigge, tells her parents she will be studying with her best friend. Instead she meets up with seventeen year old bad boy, Vince Fleming, the son of a know criminal. Drunk and parked with Vince in his car, Cynthia has missed curfew and is caught in the act by her father, who promptly takes her home and puts her in bed.
After telling her parents that she wishes they were dead, Cynthia passes out. The next morning, a school day, she awakes to an empty household. Her mom, dad and brother are simply gone without a trace and the mystery begins.
Is this temporary? Is she being punished? Was she abandoned? What happened to her family? Was Vince Fleming involved in the disappearance? Who is responsible for the family's disappearance? Are they dead? Were they murdered?
Taken in by her loving Aunt Tess, who received money from an unknown source to help her raise Cynthia, the story is suddenly fast forwarded.
Twenty-five years have passed, Cynthia is now married to a Connecticut school teacher, Terry Archer and they have an eight year old daughter.
Still without a clue what happened to her parents and brother, a television network takes interest in Cynthia and runs her story that leads to a roller coaster ride of dangerous twists and turns and increasing excitement, as suspense and surprise elevate unraveling the mysterious tale to the readers delight.
This is one of my favorite mysteries of the year. If you have a pulse and enjoy a well-written tale, you will be happy with this gem. Enjoy!
on October 3, 2007
When Harlen Coben wrote Tell No One and when Joseph Finder wrote Paranoia these were huge steps up from their previous novels. Yes their previous novels were enjoyable reads but noone would have expected the incredible writing that was to come. This book is the same step up for Linwood Barclay. Bad Move, Lone Wolf, etc. were very enjoyable novels but No Time for Goodbye is fantastic! Great plot - as good as Tell No One by H. Coben but the end is, in my opinion, much,much better. If you only read one thriller this year, this is the one. No joke.
on July 20, 2014
I simply have to give this book five stars for being such a page turner. I loved everything about this book: the well-developed and mostly endearing characters; the plot that kept becoming increasingly more intense; introducing more and more characters who added to the depth of the story; the unexpected, occasional humorous lines that made Terry so endearing and down-to-earth; the part where Cynthia acts out of character... I could go on and on. The only downside was that the book ended.
I'm always delighted when I discover a new author who really grabs my attention. Amazon is doing an amazing job of introducing new authors to the public at a low price. I've expanded my list of favorite authors tenfold, thanks to Amazon.
on August 7, 2014
This was my first Linwood Barclay novel. I am a huge Harlan Coben fan so I asked around to find out someone else that wrote somewhat like Coben writes and Barclay's name came up more than once. I would actually disagree with anyone that says that he writes like Coben. I understand that he likes to end a chapter with a cliffhanger and the fact that his novels involve someone missing but other than that I don't really see many similarities.
The novel starts out with fourteen year old girl named Cynthia waking up one morning, after a very dramatic fight with her parents the night before, to discover that they, along with her brother, are missing. She tries to convince herself that they will return but they never do. Fast-forward twenty-five years later to a time when she knows no more than she did when it happen; however hints are starting to form for her to find out. Her, her husband Terry and their young daughter are trying to live a normal life when Cynthia's past began to overtake them. Not only is the past creeping back into the present but dangers from the present are coming to turn their lives upside down.
This story is told by her husband Terry and is told very well. The characters are very well written and the pacing is really excellent. Twist and turns come easily too. I will tell you that it depends on your frame of mind entering this novel. There is a decent chance that you could figure this out very easily and if you do the ending will not surprise you at all. If you are like me and had an idea but didn't the whole matter you'll be fine. The other issue that I will warn a reader about is the profanity. What can I say "F bombs" throughout. This is a great story, with great characters but the language at times can take away from the magic.
I am very glad that the search engine told me about Barclay, even though I don't really agree that he writes like Coben I will be checking out more of Barclay's books in the future.
I came late to the Linwood Barclay party, but I'm enjoying catching up. I enjoyed the "voice," the story, and the pacing of No Time for Goodbye, although I did have a problem or two with the book over all.
This plot is very carefully constructed. Seemingly unimportant objects mentioned casually are mentioned for a reason, and the same holds true for characters. Speaking of characters, my favorite was young Jane Scavullo, a troubled teen with so much potential. I don't know if she shows up in another Barclay novel, but I certainly wouldn't mind seeing her again.
Now for the two things that rubbed me the wrong way. Quite frankly, I found main character Cynthia Bigge to be a royal pain in the neck. Everything is about her. No one can voice an opinion if it might be "against" her, and she's in real danger of smothering her young daughter. Yes, it's realistic behavior for someone whose family vanished without explanation, but that doesn't mean I have to like her.
The other thing that bothered me was the explanation for what actually happened to Cynthia's parents and brother, so I can't say much about it without giving it away. I'll just say that Barclay's solution was a bit over-the-top for me, and I had trouble suspending my disbelief enough to accept it all.
But Linwood Barclay can write like a house afire. I love his plots, I love his voice, and just because I didn't like one of his characters doesn't mean I'm going to stop reading his books!