Review By Gabrielle

Mystery author Linwood Barclay returns with this complex book, solidifying his reputation as a staple of the genre.

Favourite Quote:

“At that moment, she thought she heard something behind her. She whirled around.

There wasn’t even time to scream.”

Goodreads Synopsis: 

One weekend, while Andrew Mason was on a fishing trip, his wife, Brie, vanished without a trace. Most everyone assumed Andy had got away with murder–it’s always the husband, isn’t it?–but the police could never build a strong case against him. For a while, Andy hit rock bottom–he drank too much to numb the pain, was abandoned by all his friends save one, nearly lost his business, and became a pariah in the place he once called home.

Now, six years later, Andy has finally put his life back together. He sold the house he once shared with Brie and moved away. Truth to tell, he wasn’t sad to hear that the old place was razed and a new house built on the site. He’s settled down with a new partner, Jayne, and life is good.

But Andy’s peaceful world is about to shatter. One day, a woman shows up at his old address, screaming, “Where’s my house? What’s happened to my house?” And then, just as suddenly as she appeared, the woman–who bears a striking resemblance to Brie–is gone. The police are notified and old questions–and dark suspicions–resurface.

Could Brie really be alive after all these years? If so, where has she been? It soon becomes clear that Andy’s future, and the lives of those closest to him, depends on discovering what the hell is going on. The trick will be whether he can stay alive long enough to unearth the answers.

This is actually my first book by Linwood Barclay although he has long been on my radar. A Canadian transplant, he has written more than twenty novels, two children’s novels and the screenplay adaptation of his novel Never Saw It Coming. His books have been recommended to me numerous times so I’m glad I finally got a chance to read one.

I loved the premise of this book. It is such an intriguing concept and it definitely starts off with a bang in the prologue. That pace is juxtaposed with a slower one throughout the rest of the book until the end where it speeds up again. It was a very interesting pacing choice. Most of the thrillers I’ve been reading lately have moved like a race to the finish line, so while I’m not sure I personally loved the pacing, I could appreciate the technique.

This is a character driven story. It switches around from the viewpoints of multiple people which means we get really well developed characters. This is a really tough thing for an author to achieve. To reveal enough that we get to know the characters but not enough that we figure out whodunit too soon. It’s little wonder why so many people love his work.

There is a lot going on in this book and I loved the moral complexity of it. I had to ask myself, what would I do if I was Andrew and I had finally moved on with my life, and my long presumed dead wife returned? I don’t want to give too much away, but suffice it to say it had me questioning what I would do to protect the people I love.

If you like a slower paced thriller with great character development, give this one a try.

Thank you, HarperCollins Canada for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.