Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Too Close To Home

Author: Linwood Barclay
Genre: Suspense
Type: Hardcover
Source: Public Library
Pages: 416
Publisher: Bantam 
Publication Date: 2008
First Line: "Derek figured, when the time came, the crawlspace would be the best place to hide."

Book Description from GoodReads“The night they killed our neighbors, we never heard a thing.”

In a quiet suburban neighborhood, in a house only one door away, a family is brutally murdered for no apparent reason. And you think to yourself: It could have been us. And you start to wonder:
What if we’re next?  

Linwood Barclay, critically acclaimed author of No Time for Goodbye, brings terror closer than ever before in a thriller where murder strikes in the place we feel safest of all. Promise Falls isn’t the kind of community where a family is shot to death in their own home. But that is exactly what happened to the Langleys one sweltering summer night, and no one in this small upstate New York town is more shocked than their next-door neighbors, Jim and Ellen Cutter. They visited for the occasional barbecue and their son, Derek, was friends with the Langleys’ boy, Adam; but how well did they really know their neighbors?

That’s the question Jim Cutter is asking, and the answers he’s getting aren’t reassuring. Albert Langley was a successful, well-respected criminal lawyer, but was he so good at getting criminals off that he was the victim of revenge—a debt his innocent family also paid in blood? From the town’s criminally corrupt mayor to the tragic suicide of a talented student a decade before, Promise Falls has more than its share of secrets. And Jim Cutter, failed artist turned landscaper, need look no further than his own home and his wife Ellen’s past to know that things aren’t always what they seem. But not even Jim and Ellen are ready to know that their son was in the Langley house the night the family was murdered.

Suddenly the Cutters must face the unthinkable: that a murderer isn’t just stalking too close to home but is inside it already. For the Langleys weren’t the first to die and they won’t be the last.

My Review:  Linwood Barclay is a Canadian author who has been equated with other highly successful suspense writers like Harlan Coben and Lisa Gardner.  Yup, the big dogs of suspense writing.  Unfortunately if "Too Close to Home" is your first book by Barclay I'm afraid you'll come away disappointed.  While I'm almost positive that I've read at least one of his previous books (although the name escapes me -- too many books and all that) I can't say that this book wowed me.

The book started off strong and had me intrigued after the shock of the initial murders.  Unfortunately shortly after that, the pace and focus of the book stalled.  It seemed like too many characters had random skeletons in their closets making it feel scattered, slightly cheesy and the book, generally, just didn't seem to have any direction.

First of all, for a suspenseful read it had an incredibly slow pace and it was predictable.  Predictability and suspense do not make for a good, shocking, edge-of-your-seat read.  I felt like I kept waiting for something big to happen -- some kind of major twist.  The book just kept plodding along until the 'big ta-da' moment which I had already surmised making it less 'ta-da' and more 'ho-hum'.

I think one of the main issues is that the characters were just plain dull.  The book is told through the eyes of Jim Cutter which really limits how much leeway the author has with setting up scenes.  Plus, I just didn't like Jim Cutter.  He was blaw and I had a hard time getting behind him.

I expected a lot more from this book.  Unfortunately with the slow plot, predictability and dull characters stars left me wanting much more from this 'suspense' read.

My Rating: 2/5 stars

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