Newest Review: ... of husband, wife and son, Adam, get brutally murdered in their home. Their neighbours are the Cutters, consisting of Jim and Eileen, and... more
Too Close To Murder
Too Close to Home - Linwood Barclay
Member Name: cazkins
Too Close to Home - Linwood Barclay
Advantages: Interesting plot, well written, good depth of characters
Disadvantages: A tad slow in places
I've read something by Linwood Barclay before and enjoyed it, so this caught my eye in the library. The cover also informs us that it's the 'Number one bestseller', which I'm always a sucker for anyway. It also tells us that this is the author of Richard & Judy Summer Read winner for 'No Time for Goodbye', so I was expecting this to be a good read and I wasn't disappointed.
Too Close To Home seems to fall into the crime thriller genre, even if at times there's more detail on the drama side of things than killings and case-solving. The book opens with one side of events and then shifts to put Jim Cutter in the role of protagonist. This basically tells us who isn't responsible for a murder, but no clues as to who is.
The basic premise is that the Langley family, consisting of husband, wife and son, Adam, get brutally murdered in their home. Their neighbours are the Cutters, consisting of Jim and Eileen, and their son, Derek. They're obviously shocked and scared by this turn of events because they live next door, they were close with the Langley's and the killer or killers are still on the loose.
We're left with no idea as to who or why the family were killed, but bit by bit new information is gleaned. We learn of an old computer acquired by the two boys, Adam and Derek, on which they found a novel. The computer belonged to a boy before he killed himself years ago, and yet somehow, the same book seems to have been published by Conrad Chase not too long after. Chase is known to the Cutter family, and the tensions are clear to see. Obviously there's history between them, and the curiosity of what happened to this book plays on Jim's mind.
Taking the investigation into his own hands, Jim attempts to investigate. With police getting no closer to solving the puzzle, we see how Jim moves through ideas in his head, tries to figure out what's going on whilst keeping his family safe. We also see how misunderstandings and complications, especially when the truth is hidden and distorted, can lead to huge implications. This aspect I found to be quite emotional and dramatic, but I won't say what it was, rather I'm just pointing out that the book had the ability to draw out emotions in the reader.
I won't say anymore on the plot but I will say that it's fairly complex and quite surprising. I couldn't have guessed the twists and turns, and I liked that because it was quirky and unique, it kept me guessing and wanting to read more. I also liked the web of characters that was developed, each of which I was able to picture and get a grasp of, making the whole novel seem more realistic.
The style of writing was intelligent and coherent, but Barclay also added in some quick comedy in parts to bring to life the protagonist and keep things lively. I did, however, find that some parts towards the beginning were a little slow as Barclay re-capped everything that had happened. None the less, the pace picks up and her re-capping meant that I didn't find myself getting lost or confused by the increasing amount of characters and events.
Overall, I found this to be a book I kept wanting to pick back up, I wanted to know what would happen and I enjoyed being absorbed in it. I would recommend it, and it doesn't matter if you've read a Barclay novel before or not because it's a stand-alone book.
466 pages over 44 chapters
Summary: An absorbing read for crime thriller fans