Sunday, 27 July 2014

Short post on a sluggish Sunday...

We had friends over for a BBQ yesterday, and we had a great time.  But I’m feeling very tired and lazy this morning… got up late, don’t have much energy.  I even skipped my steeped chai and went straight for the quick and easy tea bag, since I needed that cup of tea right away!  So this will be a bit of a slap-dash post.
If you remember, last week I was talking about Linwood Barclay’s newest book, No Safe House, which I was reviewing for the local paper.  I commented that I was not a real fan of this author’s thrillers, but that this one seemed particularly “thin” and “surface”.  It is described by the publishers as a “companion novel” to Barclay’s 2007 novel, No time for Goodbye, so I decided to read it before writing the review in the hopes that it would provide enough information and background story to make up for what was lacking in this new title.  Well, it was a pretty good read, and it provided exactly what I was hoping it would in terms of story and character depth.  In No Time for Goodbye, 14-year-old Cynthia Bigge wakes up one morning to discover that her whole family has disappeared without a trace.  Twenty-five years later, she has moved on with her life and has a family of her own, a husband Terry and an eight-year-old daughter Grace. She participates in a TV spot on Deadline highlighting her familys disappearance, which she hopes will encourage anyone who knows something about this unsolved case to come forward with information that may help her find out what happened all those years ago.  She has always been on alert for strange events and occurrences going on around her, but this time she notices a strange brown car that pops up regularly.  She also gets an untraceable phone call and a strange email correspondence, and ominous “gifts” are delivered.  Her husband, Terry, is beginning to think that Cynthia is fabricating instances and evidence to convince the police to take her case seriously.  When the family go to visit Cynthia’s aunt Tess, the woman who raised her after her family disappeared, more information is revealed that keep the reader guessing, and while we may have also initially wondered whether Cynthia might just be creating her own drama where none exists, the information now being gathered suggests otherwise, that this is a very involved, long-term plan involving multiple players, including some innocents like Cynthia and her family.  When Cynthia and her daughter are abducted, Terry must contact Cynthia’s former high school boyfriend, bad boy Vince Fleming, to help him find and save them before it is too late.  This book twisted and turned so often I felt that I could use a seatbelt for my reading chair, but I couldn’t put it down until the final page, when the final piece in the puzzle is revealed to Cynthia, and readers feel that they have been given the whole truth.  This book was a real pleasure to read, and while Barclay’s books will likely never be described as “literary”, this one was a fast-paced page-turner that kept this reader guessing until the very last page.  It definitely lent depth to the “companion novel”, and introduced readers to the main and secondary characters who reappear in the newest book, including Rona Wedmore and Vince Fleming.  I would say readers should definitely check out No time for Goodbye before reading No Safe House, in order to enjoy a fuller, richer reading experience.   
I have a book and an audiobook on the go, and am nearly finished both, so I hope to have a fuller, richer, more informative post next time.  Have a great week!

Bye for now…
Julie

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