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Published by Orion, 22 September 2016.
I own to always being
excited when I see a new book by Linwood Barclay. I am a great fan. The first
paragraph had me immediately hooked when I learned that Patricia Henderson was
among the first to die! But by page 10 I was recognising characters names.Closer inspection of the book revealed in
small letters that The Twenty Three
was the final book in the Promise Falls
trilogy. Investigation of my shelves further revealed that I had read the first
one Broken Promises, but somehow
missed the second in the trilogy – Far
From True. The joy of technology - a few clicks and it was on my kindle.
Having now read all
three I can attest that they can be read as standalone’s, but I personally
think that there is better continuity if they are read in order.
Twenty Three opens at breakfast time on a Saturday morning in Promise
Falls. First the shower, coffee,
breakfast, then life spirals away, vomiting, heart racing, itching, people dial
911 for assistance but no one answers. People crawl out into the street seeking
help, and there they die. Those lucky enough to have someone to drive then to
the hospital find total chaos as hundreds of people converge on the Emergency
Room.The emergency services, police and
the medical staff are all completely overwhelmed as they have no idea what they
are dealing with.
There are many story lines and multiple
third party narrators.As the book
progresses Barclay smoothly inserts recaps of the characters’ lives in the
previous two books.But the main
character Detective Barry Duckworth tells his story in the first person.He is already investigating the brutal
murders of two young women and an explosion at the town’s drive-in which has
killed four people.His only help is
newly promoted Angus Carlson who has much to learn.But there are more deaths and not only from
the mysterious illness which has struck down the residents of Promise Falls.
The tension never lets up as Barry tries
to piece together and find a pattern in the odd incidents that are occurring in
Promise Falls.He keeps coming back to
‘Twenty Three’ Just what is the significance of 23?
The plotting is superb, and although
most threads were satisfactorily resolved, I felt that some were left
hanging.Could there be another book?
Totally gripping this book is highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes
Linwood Barclaywas born 1955 in Darien, Connecticut.After graduating high school Barclay studied
literature at Trent University in Peterborough. While at university, he began a
correspondence with Ross Macdonald that proved inspirational for Barclay. They
met once, at which time Macdonald inscribed one of his books to Barclay,
"For Linwood, who will, I hope, someday outwrite me."
After graduation, he could not sell any of his novels so he found work on a
number of local newspapers, starting his journalism career in 1977 at the
Peterborough Examiner, moved on to a small Oakville paper in 1979, and then to
the Toronto Star in 1981 where he was, successively, assistant city editor,
news editor, chief copy editor and Life section editor.
He lives in Toronto with his wife, Neetha and two children.