That title! That cover! As a lover of crime and psychological thrillers, could anything possibly scream “READ ME!” any louder? So when I was invited to take part in the blog tour for this book, I jumped at the chance.
What I thought:
An exclusive hotel in a picturesque and secluded part of the Catskills in the middle of winter in the snow. A small group of guests, who have never met each other before, arrive for a weekend of luxury, forgoing mobile networks and WiFi in order to relax and recharge their batteries. What could be more perfect they think. Until an ice storm hits and the electricity goes down, that is, and the body of one of the guests is found at the bottom of the grand staircase…
I love a good locked-room mystery, and the blurb for this book sounded very Christie-esque which gave huge appeal (indeed there is even a nod to the author herself, as one guest finds a Christie novel on her bedside table). The remote and cut off location, the group of strangers, many of whom seem to have something to hide, the undercurrent of mistrust and the body count mounting up… what could be more perfect?
If I was to have a slight gripe, it would be that there wasn’t quite enough tension for me. Guests are dropping like flies and there is no way out, yet I never really got a sense of pure fear (which I expect I would have felt had I been there in the hotel). Well written though it was, the middle part of the book didn’t entirely live up to the promise of the first part, I felt. The ending though… now that I enjoyed. I love it when I’m blindsided by a reveal and this one did just that. It actually left me with a big smile of satisfaction on my face.
Gripping, page-turning, moreish. This is a pacy thrilled, despite the desolate setting and small cast. A read-in-one-sitting type of book. Enjoy!
Why not head over to the other blogs in this tour and see what they have to say about it too.
What I Thought:
This book should come with a warning sign on the cover: Do not start if you have other plans for the day. The term un-putdownable is banded around fairly frequently in book reviews (yep, guilty) but this one really is!
Set over just 4 hours in an exclusive Hollywood restaurant frequented by the A-list elite, their Agents and top PR, a lone gunman with a bomb strapped to him walks in one lunch hour and takes the 25 patrons and staff hostage. After making them strip to their underwear to heighten the sense of fear and humiliation, he then begins his games by killing unexpectedly and at random, his opening line upon entering having been “From this moment on I am God.”
The book is very clever at painting the picture of the Hollywood set in all its ugly glory (behind many a successful star is someone who has plotted, manipulated and orchestrated with them and behind every news story is a team of people who will go to any lengths to get exclusives, not caring who lives or dies along the way). Yet inside the restaurant, these sometimes shallow and narcissistic people are just the same as anyone else – they have their own worries, grief, hopes and dreams.
The book is set in half hour timeframes over the course of 4 hours and the narrative is fast and furious with each short chapter ending on a cliffhanger that makes it impossible to put down. Not only that but as you are left dangling off the edge of that particular cliff, the next chapter flits to another part of the story so there becomes a point where you are dangling off about 3 cliffs simultaneously ensuring you can never put the damn thing down! Crafty.
Seriously good! Thrilling, exciting, shocking and so absorbing that when you finally come up for air it’s a bit of a surprise to find you are sat on your own sofa in your own home. Lock the doors, turn your phone off, put the fire on and your feet up (snacks recommended as you are unlikely to want to move for the next few hours) and get ready for the ride!
In three words:
Crash, lies, fraud
What I thought:
We all have those authors whose books we have enjoyed so much that we practically count the days down until the next one is out. Linwood Barclay is one of those authors. I had read three of his books previously and was so excited to receive this one too. While it was still up to it’s usual standards of in terms of pace and whodunnitness (hee hee) I have to admit that it is not my favourite of his books.
No surprises (form the title and the cover) that The Accident is based around a car accident in which Sheila Garber, young wife and mother, is found dead at the wheel of her car after a head-on collision with another car which killed two people. Grieving husband Glen can’t get his head around being told by the police that Sheila was found to be 7 times over the drink drive limit and also driving the wrong way up the off-ramp. In the days after Sheila’s death, Glen and Sheila’s 8 year old daughter, Kelly, goes to stay at her friends house for a sleepover but soon begs to come home in a hurry when she overhears her friends mum on the phone when she is hiding in her bedroom. Kelly has heard something that she shouldn’t and her friends mum wants her kept quiet. That night sparks a series of events that seem to involve Sheila (making him wonder if he knew his wife at all) and he starts to fear for his daughters safety…
As with all Barclay’s books, they race along at startling speed and rarely give you time to pause for breath; that’s what I love about them. He doesn’t write about serial killers or delve into the pyschology of a character, merely concentrates on plot and dishing out those twists when you least expect them. Being a huge crime and thriller fan I do find myself trying to work out (often successfully) “whodunnit” right from the off, and although I did guess something major that happened in this one very early on, I was also delivered another shocking surprise at the end that pleased me as I hadn’t seen that one coming.
Verdict: If you’re a fan of Barclay, you will love this. If you haven’t read his books yet, then you absolutely must but start with Too Close to Home or No Time for Goodbye.
Have you read any Linwood Barclay yet? Which one is your favourite?
(Source: I received this book for review on my Kindle courtesy of Random House on NetGalley)