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I could look away.
Never Look Away - Linwood Barclay
Member Name: Gemma_C
Never Look Away - Linwood Barclay
Advantages: The book does start off well with an exciting premise.
Disadvantages: The rest of the book failed to grip me at all, and it was too far fetched in parts,
The Harwood family are off for a day out at Five Mountains amusement park. David is hoping that the trip with four-year-old son Ethan will help his wife Jan with her recent depression, which has consisted of her mentioning suicide. The day however, turns into the start of a complete nightmare, which sees this family being turned upside down.
David ends up becoming separated from Jan, and Ethan has been seemingly kidnapped. After searching desperately he does find Ethan, still asleep in his stroller, but after continuous searching David still can not find Jan. He immediately gets the police involved, his thoughts filled with terrifying visions of Jan taking her own life however, just when he thought this whole situation couldn't get any worse, it does. The police don't believe Jan was ever in the park at all, and David can't see, to prove it. CCTV shows no footage of Jan, only of David and Ethan, and David becomes even more confused when the police reveal that only 2 tickets were ever bought online for the park, and Jan had booked those.
As much as the plot sounds rather exciting to this book, I failed to gain any excitement from reading it. It did start off rather well after the initial event, I was intrigued into just who Jan was and where she had gone, but as the book went on I failed to find myself gripped by it at all. The action is fast paced, and it moves along at a good rate, but I personally found the story hard to believe and at times it did feel to lack depth to me. I often read this book in small bursts, as I failed to be pulled into the story as I felt I should have been.
David himself feels like a character I have met before. Anyone who read books by the likes of Harlan Coben or Simon Kernick can relate to this type of character. A seemingly ordinary guy who is suddenly pulled into a world of terrifying possibilities yet manages to pull himself through, despite dealing with some dark, shady characters. I also failed to feel the heartbreak that should be evident in this book, and indeed Barclay does try, but I just couldn't become close to any of the main characters, never mind David Harwood who is the eyes of the majority of the story.
I believe the book reveals some things far too early on, that probably could have been left till later to help build up the tension, but to keep this book moving in its fast paced manner a lot of key details are revealed early on. Indeed there were some elements of surprise in the book, and sections of it I were surprised at and didn't expect, but these weren't enough to get me hooked on the action, nor did I feel particularly bothered about what happened next, I simply wanted to get to the end.
The ending had everything all come together for what should be an explosive ending, but I couldn't help but feel this was simply a quick way to tie all the ends together. In fact in some parts at the end, I just couldn't understand why David acted in the way he did, and again I had trouble believing these aspects of the storyline. It was all tied up nicely in the end, but after reading it all, I felt more relieved that it was over.
Despite having enjoyed a previous book by Linwood Barclay, I personally didn't find this one all that exciting. I can see it appealing to many, but for me I have read much better in this genre and it doesn't put this book in the top reads for me.
I was given this book through the Amazon Vine programme and it currently available in hardback for £9.49 from Amazon, with the paperback version due out in June 2011.
Summary: Not a very gripping read for me.