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Tim Blake’s worst fear is realised one afternoon when his daughter, Sydney, fails to return home from her summer job at a local hotel. After visiting her place of work, Tim becomes even more concerned when they insist they have never heard of her; that she has never worked there.
Frantic, Tim and his ex wife begin asking everyone Syd knew to find out where she could have gone and Tim starts to worry that she might not even be alive. That is until Tim starts to get threats against his life and realises that there are people that want to find Sydney as much as he wants to and it becomes a race against time to find her before they do.
Yet another book by best selling crime/suspense/thriller novelist Linwood Barclay that has been hyped so much it is hard to avoid it when you walk into book shops! But does it live up to the hype I hear you ask?
As always, Barclay sticks to his tried and tested formula – someone close to the main character goes missing; the main character becomes determined to track them down and then becomes the main suspect in the crime. All this happened in the previous book I’ve read (Never Look Away) and this formula remains a fixture in “Fear the worst” storyline. As much as I’d like to complain about this, it is a fixture that he uses to great success even if it is a tad frustrating and predictable. Barclay always manages to create a strong, usually male, lead character and Tim is no exception to this. Strong, a good father figure by all accounts but with enough flaws and vulnerabilities to make him believable and likeable. Tim is a single dad with a failed career behind him but who is starting again doing something he likes, searching for love but finding the wrong person in the process. It is all perfect, and really sets the scene for what unfolds with his daughter.
The storyline of a missing person is nothing new, especially as I’ve already mentioned, in Barclays books. However, I found this one more compelling purely because the missing person is in fact his teenage daughter – surely every parents worse nightmare. So from the moment Sydney goes missing, the reader is wondering exactly what is going on. Often, Barclay makes these stories quite complex which can become utterly confusing (but in a good way!) when thinking about the reasons or motives behind someone missing/dead etc etc.
In fact, I’ve discovered that Linwood Barclay does do an excellent job of keeping the reader guessing; I may have had an inkling of what was going on, but I could never quite connect the dots until the closing chapters making it a very compelling read indeed. However, I found that at the stories revelation, I was less impressed than I had been with other books of his. The whole scenario which has led to Sydney’s disappearance didn’t seem all that believable to me, even if I did suspend my belief and walk into the world of fiction books. I’ve enjoyed his books in the past where I’ve seen a grain of something that could happen in real life, but this one seemed straight out of a movie script and was a massive disappointment to me in its final chapters.
Overall I’d say this was a bit of a mixed bag to be honest. Readability wise it is no problem, I enjoyed it and as always, enjoyed trying to work out possible motives or reasons why Sydney was missing. Once again, as I’ve mentioned there is a compelling and likeable main character in Tim Blake whose opinions and perspective helped to create and sustain the sense of mystery surrounding his daughter’s disappearance. However, I did feel let down by the revelation, dramatic? Yes absolutely, believable? Nope, for me not in the slightest; this has taken a bit of power away from Barclay. Not his strongest to date, but a book you could pick up and get stuck in to nonetheless!