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Wednesday 13 October 2021

‘Too Close To Home’ by Linwood Barclay

Published by Orion,
5 February 2009.
ISBN: 978-0-75288862-0
Seventeen-year-old Derek Cutter is friends with Adam Langley. The Langleys live next door – well the next house down the lane. The Langley’s are taking off for the weekend, and Derek has just one thing on his mind – making out with his girl friend Penny Tucker.  Derek figures if during all the departure commotion he can conceal himself in the Langley’s crawlspace, he will have access to an empty house for two whole days in which to entertain Penny. The first part of his plan goes well, but whilst he is congratulating himself the Langley’s return unexpectedly, and Derek has to beat a hasty retreat back to the crawlspace to avoid discovery.  Hoping they will leave soon as Derek’s six-foot frame is suffering somewhat in the cramped space, he is dismayed when he hears the door bell – not visitors as well. But the visitor doesn’t stay long, just long enough to shoot dead all the Langley’s.

Promise Falls is a quiet community - a triple killing is unheard of. And why would anyone kill the Langley’s?  No reason can be found for these murders. Is it a case of mistaken identity? Knowing of Derek’s friendship with Adam, Jim Cutter quizzes his son to find a reason for the killings. Both the boys had an interest in old computers and the only thing Jim elicits is that the boys had recently salvaged an old computer, and that appears to be the only thing missing from the house. Although the police seem to attach little significance to this when Jim informs them. Or most frightening of all - did the killers go to the wrong house?

Jim pursues the missing computer convinced that it may provide a reason for the killings, but as he does so, he uncovers a secret, and that in turn leads to more secrets being revealed. There are many twist and turns in this story.  But the solution is a surprise. Whilst I had been trying all sorts of scenarios to solve the murders, the story ran off at different angle and caught me unawares.

A terrific book, which I could not put down. So many different possibilities that I had to read it straight through to the end. And what an ending, most unexpected - something along the lines of ‘No good deed goes unpunished’. Highly Recommended.

Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes

Linwood Barclay was 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.

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