No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

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No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Kerry King
Reviewed by Kerry King
Summary: Imagine one morning, you wake up, the house is empty and your family have disappeared. That is exactly what happens to fourteen year old Cynthia Bigge – and twenty five years later the mystery is no closer to being solved.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: June 2008
Publisher: Orion
ISBN: 978-0752893686

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Sometimes it's better to let sleeping dogs lie. Isn't it? But would you be able to resist one more attempt to find your mother, father and brother if a reality television show offered to help you re-create the events of that night?

No, me neither!

Married and with a daughter of her own, it has been twenty five years since her family vanished without a trace but Cynthia Archer has never given up hope that they might one day all return and, as a result, has not been able to bring herself to move out of the town that she grew up in. Just in case. When a reality television show offers to go over the events of that fateful night, taking Cynthia back to her childhood home, she jumps at the chance. What if a television special jogs somebody's memory? What if her parents and brother are still alive and see it?

When the show airs and nothing more than a few cranks and side-show freaks come out of the woodwork, Cynthia begins to give in to despair. Then the 'messages' begin to appear, followed by strange phone calls and the feeling that she is very definitely being followed. Is this just a strange coincidence or could someone know something about that night? Is there someone shadowing Cynthia and her family or is she just so desperate to discover the truth, that her mind is playing tricks on her?

Linwood Barclay, author of, among many, Bad Move, Bad Guys, Lone Wolf, Stone Rain and, most recently, Too Close To Home, has taken a leap forward in his writing skill to bring us No Time For Goodbye. It's a compelling, nail-biting, crime-thriller that comes through on the initial chapter's promise to deliver. The characters are marvellous – Cynthia's husband Terry is very believable and Barclay has given him considerable substance. I loved the way the plot sawed back and forth; Terry considering one moment that Cynthia is losing her mind and then rallying to her side the next and Cynthia, wracked with doubt, questioning her sanity.

Other than the superbly inspiring characters, I was pleasantly surprised to have not figured the ending before it would have spoiled the book – Barclay managed to keep it hidden up until a point that it made no difference whether you knew or not. I found that I wanted to keep reading to discover why and I didn't connect the relevance of a hint early on until it was being explained to me which, I think, is a real bonus (there is nothing worse than realising you could have written the story by the time you are thirty pages in!) and made my reading all the more enjoyable for it.

Although I only gave it four and a half Bookbag stars instead of five, I still heartily recommend this book to you. The half star deduction is purely me being a crime-thriller pedant – I would have preferred a 'fatter' second half, by which I mean that during the first half of the book, I was biting my nails off to the elbows; the second half was not quite as apace. But like I say, it's probably me.

If this book appeals then you will love Panic by Jeff Abbott. You may also enjoy Angels Fall by Nora Roberts, again in an analogous vein. If you like your crime thrillers to be a little bit more murder mystery than mystery murder, you should certainly enjoy Whisper in the Dark by Robert Gregory Browne.

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Buy No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay at


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Chloe said:

I read this novel when it first came out and I loved it, thought it was a really gripping read. Really well reviewed, I enjoyed your review very much :) Chloe