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Fear The Worst

by Linwood Barclay
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Dell
  • Publishing date: 23/02/2010
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780553591750
  • ISBN: 0553591754


Amazon Exclusive: Lisa Gardner Reviews Fear the Worst

Lisa Gardner is the New York Times bestselling author of eleven novels, including Say Goodbye and The Neighbor. She lives with her husband and daughter in New England. She is currently at work on her next thriller, Live to Tell, which will be publish in 2010. Read her exclusive Amazon guest review of Fear the Worst:

Linwood Barclay is a #1 bestselling crime novelist in Britain and a major European suspense star. So when I received the advanced reading copy of his latest novel, Fear the Worst, my first reaction was guilt—what rock have I been hiding under that I’ve never heard of an author who counts Michael Connelly, Tess Gerritsen, and Joseph Finder among his fans? My next response was sheer anticipation. There’s nothing better than discovering a great new author. I immediately cracked open Fear the Worst, hoping for the best.

Long and short of it—Barclay delivers on the hype. Fear the Worst starts with one of the better opening lines I’ve read in a while: “The morning of the day I lost her, my daughter asked me to scramble her some eggs.” It’s such a simple sentence, speaking of everyday domesticity. You can picture a father. You can picture a daughter. Yet you’re already filled with dread. A bad thing has happened. And yeah, for the next four hundred pages, the bad thing gets a lot worse.

This tension-filled dichotomy of an ordinary man caught in extraordinary circumstances isn’t new territory. Harlan Coben would be drawn to this plot, not to mention a few others. But Barclay writes with a voice that’s all his own. His ordinary man, Timothy Blake, is at that middle-aged point in life where he’s racking up more losses than wins. First marriage has collapsed. Car dealership went down the drain. Parenting a teenage daughter remains a mystery. Blake is a man who’s down but not out, which makes his efforts to find his missing daughter realistic, compelling and completely nerve-wracking.

The supporting cast is equally well-done: the prickly ex-wife; the daughter’s troubled BFF; the female detective who seems to spend most of her time on the phone dealing with her own kid. Barclay excels at creating people you immediately recognize, and even if you don’t like them all, you understand them. He also stays true to his characters; Blake doesn’t magically turn into Rambo just because bad guys are now trying to gun him down. The prickly ex-wife doesn’t suddenly crave reconciliation, just because they’re now working together to find their child. By not taking the easy road, Barclay sets the stage for several shocking plot twists, not to mention one helluva dramatic climax.

Previous Barclay fans should enjoy this fast-paced outing. And if you’ve been hiding under a rock like me, time to crawl out and discover a great new author. —Lisa Gardner

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  • An entertaining read - but not without its flaws
    From Amazon

    Fear the Worst is a very entertaining, fast paced thriller that will inevitably be compared to work of Harlan Coben. It has many of the same elements as a Harlan Coben novel: an ordinary life turned upside down, family secrets, a suburban setting, red herrings, and crazy plot twists. Some reviewers have said that the novel is a little boring which surprises me. The novel has its flaws, but you'd have to have a pretty short attention span to find this novel dull. Its greatest strengths are that it's a page turner and a heck of a lot of fun. There are flaws though. Barclay (not unlike Coben) unleashes some pretty goofy similes ("Evan...slithered out of the backseat like a piece of boneless chicken" is just one example) and a lot of the dialogue is clunky and unnatural sounding. The bad guys and their criminal enterprise is not very credible. The more the mystery unravels, the more the whole premise of the novel becomes...well... kind of silly. The novel follows a familiar formula (especially if you've read a lot of Coben's work) and I had little trouble seeing the twists and turns coming before they were sprung. Even so, I really enjoyed this novel. I looked forward to each opportunity I had to read it (often reading `just one more chapter' before putting it down). True, as I neared the end of the novel, its shine was starting to fade. This, unfortunately, is a downfall for many of Coben's novels as well. The premise in these novels is always so intriguing and the mystery builds with such momentum that the reader can't help but be drawn into the story. The challenge for the author is to tie the mystery together with a solution that fully satisfies the reader. In most cases, the solution falls short. The more intriguing the premise, the higher the expectations, and the more likely it is that the ending will disappoint the reader. Bottom line: This is a great beach read. It's a novel that will hook you quickly and start to reel you in but it isn't a book you're likely to remember a year from now. It's terrifically entertaining in the moment, but pretty forgettable once it's done.

  • Love it or hate it
    From Amazon

    Interesting to see how the reviews for this are all over the place -- it's a love it or hate it book. This was my first experience with Mr. Barclay and will likely be my last. I don't need to recount the storyline. You'll see that in many other reviews. But here's a little plot point that may help you decide. At one point in the book, Tim Blake, the missing girl's father, believes someone is trying to kill him. Does he disappear? Nope. He goes home and stays there for a couple of days, making himself an easy target. So either Blake is an idiot or the author is an idiot or the author thinks his audience are idiots. This book is for completists only. If you absolutely must read this book, read chapters 1 and 2 then skip to chapter 25 then read from 36 on. You'll save yourself hours of slogging thru this mess and still get the entire story.

  • Very Good Thriller
    From Amazon

    I just finished reading this book late last night. It is the second book I read by this author, Linwood Barclay. The first was "Never Look Away." I am downloading all his books into my Kindle. Linwood Barclay is the best author that I read in a long time, I really don't want to write a summary of this book because because it would take away from your enjoyment. Suffice to say, the main character could be YOUR father, brother uncle etc. He is employed as a car salesman. All around him, his life if falling apart and with every step he takes, consequences make him look more and more a murderer. It is like a suburban nightmare, with more and more being placed on the man's shoulders. This is not a ghost story or anything like that. Everything that happens COULD really happen. If you like crime/psychological thrillers, you should read this book!

  • Very good, but...
    From Amazon

    This is the first novel I have read from this author. I have to admit, I started it, and when I found out the lead character was a car salesmen, I put it down. Having bought lemons and had some less than great experiences from a few salesmen, I did not know if I could find this character sympathetic at all. I took a few days to consider my prejudices, then decided to go back and give the book a chance. This is a tense, well written thriller. The lead character draws you into his frantic search for his missing daughter, and it does not let up from start to finish. The book is reasonably fast paced, and I found myself blazing through it once I found the writer's groove. I only had a couple of issues with the story, and I want to let those who have not read it, stop now, because of some spoilers; Ok, first of all, the police are portrayed as television cops, strong on heavy handed theories, and short on common sense. I did not find them believable. Second, when Tim gets his home tossed, it was a kind of "huh?" moment. Why thrash the place, top to bottom, when the only thing they could have possibly have been looking for was clues to Syd's whereabouts? Then the moose. I really thought the moose would have some evidence in it. I was disappointed it did not go further. Here the bad guys found nothing in Tim's house, the only thing of Syd's Tim took was the moose. It would have been great for some concrete proof to have been in the moose. The little things that were predictable in the book were not annoying enough for me to put it down. In the end, I enjoyed the book and give it a solid four stars. I recommend this book to those who are not avid mystery readers. To those, like me who read many mystery and thriller novels, you will figure it out pretty quickly. Enjoy.

  • Boring Drivel
    From Amazon

    Okay, I'm not getting it. I'm 70 pages in and am finding this book to be drivel. Besides the fact that his daughter has gone missing under mysterious pretenses, I've spent 70 pages listening to, (reading) boring crap about boring people. I don't expect the boring car sales guy to become some super sleuth, but he could grow a pair. There were so many opportunities to really draw me in, slam me with suspense and tension, but it wasn't there. (Example, when they find the car, BOOORING.) So far, I'm bored and the writing is horrible. Lots of prepositions ending sentences, dialog syntax is all over the place. If I read "He said", then "She said" one more time, I'm going to throw the book across the room. It's bland writing, bland characters and I'm finding myself just not caring enough to get to a few good parts that others seem to alude. I like Coben and was expecting that "normal" style, but it's moving way too slow for my taste with WAY too much back story that could have been condensed in less than 10 pages. Lots of boring daily drivel. Missed the mark for me!!!

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