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Look Away.................A nd you wont miss a thing!
Never Look Away - Linwood Barclay
Member Name: Emma1973
Never Look Away - Linwood Barclay
Advantages: Good for those new to crime fiction
Disadvantages: It's not actually that good
This is the 4th book by Linwood Barclay, an author who lives in Toronto and who's previous books were all best-sellers.
David and Jan, along with their 4 year old son Ethan appear to be the perfect family. David, a reporter on the local paper is having some difficulties with changes at work and an investigation that could cause him problems. He has wonderfully supporting parents who help look after Ethan when Jan is working as an assistant in a local air-con business.
Today though, is a day to let any worries pass by as the family arrange a trip to the local theme park. Jan had been depressed insinuating thoughts of suicide at one point, but hopefully the day will lift her spirits.
The park is busy and in a split second whilst David gets an ice-cream Ethan is snatched from next to Jan in his stroller. Hysterical, she screams for David, its decided that David will hunt in the park whilst Jan will got to the front gate and security in case the man who snatched him tries to leave.
David finds Ethan, still in his stroller, fast asleep and unharmed. But David got bigger problems, he cant find Jan, in fact no one can find Jane. CCTV shows that no one of Jans description enters or leaves the park. Only 1 adult and 1 child ticket was bought and David never actually sees Jans park ticket due to the fact she entered the park later having gone back to the car.
Thus begins our mystery, where is Jan, whats happened to her? Is it connected to a recent investigation David is doing? Or is it just a case of spousel homicide, was she even in the park in the first case?
Ah, I'm not going to give it away!
Its incredibly difficult to write this review without giving too much away so I'm really going to have to watch my step!
The characters are for the most part interesting. The characters of David and his father are probably the best portrayed. David comes across less than an avenging warrior than a plodding foot soldier, discovering the truth, with sparks of these mad theories. He does have these moments of complete bafflement though, this does manage to elicit a small amount of sympathy for us and his ordeal, all the emotion does seem to be saved up for Ethan though who's desperately missing his mother.
His father is the grounder, the sensible one who mends things as he goes along. His dad is the person I warmed to most, he obviously loves and protects his family and would have liked to see him have more action in the book.
Other characters fall slightly flat. David is trying to expose Elmot Sebastian who wants to build a private prison in the town. Bad guy, businessman, threatens family, career, etc. Read it before. Barry Duckworth, the police detective investigating Jans disappearance. He plays good cop, bad cop convinced David murdered his wife. Archetypal generic fiction cop, he visits various witnesses and usually ends up eating pie, not really that interesting.
And unfortunately most of the characters are the same, generic. Davids boss looking for more reasons to save money, his senior boss desperate to bring the truth into the open but constrained by family honour. Elmonts bodyguard, bad man staying bad, other later characters are also stereotypical. I've seen it all before.
That was the problem, get generic characters and there's nothing new or unique. The more you read the more familiar it sounds. I've come across these characters, the plot and the twists and turns in many other books and films. I kept reading waiting for the twist that would set this book apart from the rest and it didn't happen, it was more like just waiting for the inevitable. And if you havent guessed the inevitable by around, say page 150, then you really havent read it properly!
It's more than that, it's lazy, the characters are lazy, the writing is lazy, there's nothing in Barclays story to give the reader any emotional connection. I found it impossible to feel sorrow for any character in the book, little Ethan is probably the character you feel sorry for most. But if you cant get the reader to feel sorry for a little boy who's lost his mother then you shouldnt be an author! His usual excellent style of writing is missed here in what seems to be an attempt to get it written and down as soon as possible. One might think he was just fulfilling a contract to get this book written or he was late turning it in to his publisher so had to write it as quick as possible.
It began so well but I'm deeply disappointed in this book, especially as I really enjoyed 'No Time For Goodbye'. I'm only recommending you borrow it from the library or buy it in a discount bookshop. For an avid reader of crime it's certainly not worth the whole £7.99
Summary: 4th book from bestselling authoring Linwood Barclay.