by Linwood Barclay
One night, Glen Garber, contractor in a Connecticut community, drives upon the scene of an accident where his wife, Sheila, and two other people have been killed. The police blame drunk driving on the part of Sheila. Garber, not believing his wife could do such a thing slowly starts digging into the case, especially after his daughter comes home with a video of mysterious phone calls made by her friend's mother. With a co-worker asking for money, a former subcontractor suspected of destroying a house, a detective snooping around investigating a case of counterfeit merchandise, and a shady character hanging around, Garber finds danger coming at him from all sides.
This is a very complex plot and I wasn't sure where it might be headed after the opening chapter. There are connections that branch off other connections. It is not a typical whodunit or a thriller, or a suspense filled nail-biter, but a combination of all three and a few more sub-genres.
Glen Garber – Construction company owner. Worried about business drying up.
Kelly Garber – Glen's eight year old daughter. She tries to deal with her mother's death as well as the cruelty from schoolmates.
Ann Slocum – Friend of the Garbers. Into 'purse parties' selling knock off brand name purses. She has secrets that are revealed.
Darren Slocum – Cop with a tainted reputation. Husband of Ann.
Fiona – Glen's mother in-law. Doesn't really like Glen, blames him for Sheila's death. Wealthy, controlling.
Marcus – Fiona's second husband.
Doug Pinder – Glen's second in command at the company. He is in financial straits.
Sally Diehl – Glen's secretary. Going through romantic problems with...
Theo – Electrical subcontractor who put in bad wiring that burned down a house.
Joan Mueller – Garber's neighbor whose husband died in an oil rig accident. Runs a day care center out of her house. Lonely
There are several other characters. There is a soap opera like feel to this story with every character having individual problems and backgrounds and secrets. At first, I wasn't sure what to think with this plethora of people, but each is shown in his or her own light with a fine mix of scenes. Barclay did a very nice job of not forgetting anyone, but not delving too deeply into any one person so the reader loses touch with the story.
I felt the profanity was a little forced. It wasn't necessarily needed.
Otherwise every conversation was straightforward. Glen has a few moments of speaking aloud when alone, but nothing unreasonable for a recent widower trying to make sense of the situation.
Intricate. Not too detailed, but enough to get a taste of the characters. I was a little bothered by the use of fragmented sentences. Some of them didn't feel right and there were many instances where the author used them.
Action scenes were drawn out just enough to give you a sense of emotion but not long enough for the reader to think, “Get on with it, already!” One thing I'll note: I read the ARC and although I've read many other pre-published books, this one needed some serious editing. I discovered more than a fair share of incorrect words, missing words, and punctuation errors.
Sometimes, the mistakes became a little distracting, but realizing it was still and ARC, didn't affect...