Source: Review copy
Publication: 3rd Feb from HQ
My thanks to the publisher for an advance copy for review
It’s always the husband, isn’t it?
One weekend, while Andrew Mason was on a fishing trip, his wife, Brie, vanished without a trace. Most people assumed Andy had got away with murder, but the police couldn’t build a strong case against him. For a while, Andy hit rock bottom – he drank too much, was abandoned by his friends, nearly lost his business and became a pariah in the place he had once called home.
Now, six years later, Andy has put his life back together. He’s sold the house he shared with Brie and moved away for a fresh start. When he hears his old house has been bulldozed and a new house built in its place, he’s not bothered. He’s settled 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…
The publisher’s blurb describes what the book is about perfectly, so I don’t need to add to that. As ever Linwood Barclay gives you a likeable protagonist; a man given to self-doubt, who has known and understood the pain of loss and who is now trying to rebuild his life by putting his past behind him.
That he has chosen to by not divulging any of his past to his new partner does not make him the world’s smartest guy, but you can at least understand why he chose that path. But bad decisions, as we know from our crime reading, always come back to haunt us, and so it is with Andrew Mason.
His sister in law always suspected him of the murder of her sister: the lead detective in the case, Detective Hardy, was like a dog with a bone and though she can’t prove it was Andy, she’s never given up hope of catching him for the crime.
So when a woman who looks very much like his ex-wife Brie turns up at their old house, Andrew is only one of the people who want to know who this woman is and what she wants from them.
And so begins a nicely layered and beautifully paced game of cat and mouse with lots of red herrings, a whole heap of misdirection, and a packed cast of family and friends who all have cause to make you suspicious. There’s some lovely wit laced through this book, too.
Barclay excels in that domestic territory of suburbia where dark doings take place under the veneer of middle class respectability. Even the vermin exterminator believes in humane disposal.
Verdict: Another thoroughly enjoyable read from the master of deception where the intrigue lies in guessing the guilty party and that is a large part of the fun.
Bookshop.org Waterstones HiveStores
Linwood Barclay is an international bestselling crime and thriller author with over twenty critically acclaimed novels to his name, including the phenomenal number one bestseller No Time For Goodbye. Every Linwood Barclay book is a masterclass in characterisation, plot and the killer twist, and with sales of over 7 million copies globally, his books have been sold in more than 39 countries around the world and he can count Stephen King, Shari Lapena and Peter James among his many fans. Many of his books have been optioned for film and TV, and Linwood wrote the screenplay for the film based on his bestselling novel Never Saw It Coming. He is currently working with eOne to turn the Promise Falls trilogy into a series. Born in the US, his parents moved to Canada just as he was turning four, and he’s lived there ever since. He lives in Toronto with his wife, Neetha. They have two grown children.