Book Review: Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay

Neverlookaway Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay

Orion, 2010

David and Jan Harewood are a seemingly typical American couple. He’s a journalist at the local paper; she works for a plumbing supplier. Their four-year-old son, Ethan, is looked after by David’s parents while the couple are at work. Times are hard for the US newspaper industry, and David is not popular with management for his investigation of kick-backs to local politicians by a business consortium keen to build and run a prison – on land owned by the paper’s publisher, adding a further vested interest to the mix. Jan has recently become very depressed. Increasingly concerned, David encourages her to see a doctor, which she does, and in attempts to cheer her up, takes her out to dinner and on a trip to follow up a lead for the prison story. Eventually, in an attempt to snap out of it, Jan buys tickets for the small family to go to the nearby theme park for the day. While they are there, disaster strikes.

Linwood Barclay can be relied on to deliver a fast-moving and involving mystery plot, and Never Look Away is no exception. As the novel progresses, nothing is as it seems, and David becomes increasingly desperate as his home and professional lives seem to be imploding.  Could things get worse? Yes, they could.

There is a relatively obvious twist to the story , but this is delivered (with panache) early on, so that we can guess that there are other revelations in store, as our perceptions of events shift with our new knowledge of some of the main characters, and how past actions inform present ones.

It’s hard to do this book justice in a review without giving away the plot, but despite one or two wobbles in the logic, I highly recommend this novel as an exciting read to the extent that you might miss your stop if you’re reading it on the train or bus. 

I thank the UK publisher for kindly sending me a copy of this novel.

View the trailer here – it’s rather good, and gives nothing away!

Never Look Away at the author's website.

Other reviews of this novel: Spinetingler magazine; Presenting Lenore blog; and The Globe and Mail

6 thoughts on “Book Review: Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay

  1. I also liked this book, and Barclay’s writings in general. He manages to write good, fast-paced thrillers, often about a regular family (or so one thinks) or average guy, without gratuitous violence or gore. It works for me. And, yes, this book and his others keep me up until the crack of dawn, racing through pages.

  2. As aside: Thanks for recommending “Thursday Night Widows.” I’m reading it for an informal global challenge, but also thought the recommendation was good here and at RTR. Although I wouldn’t have picked up this book, I am enjoying it and learning a bit about the Argentinian financial crisis recently and how it affected some families; another slice of the human condition.

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