THE ACCIDENT by Linwood Barclay

Book Quote:

“If I’d known this was our last morning, I’d have rolled over in bed and held her. But of course, if it had been possible to know something like that — if I could have somehow seen into the future — I wouldn’t have let go. And then things would have been different.”

Book Review:

Review by Chuck Barksdale  (OCT 15, 2011)

The Accident, the latest thriller from Linwood Barclay, is an exciting, quick and enjoyable read. The book is told primarily in the first person of Glen Garber, the owner of Garber Contracting, a small home construction company struggling in the current economy in Milford, Connecticut. Glen cannot believe or accept it when the police tell him his wife Sheila caused the death of herself and others while she was parked drunk the wrong way on an off ramp. Although everyone tells him he must accept his wife had a drinking problem, he just refuses to believe she did or would have driven while drunk. Things get only worse, when the other people killed in the accident file suit against him for failure to identify and act on his wife’s drinking problem that led to the accident.

Glen’s life gets even worse when a report on an electrical problem that led to a fire damaging one of the homes he was building indicates that the fire was traced to faulty cheap electrical components. He immediately blames the electrician he uses on the job. However, he begins to doubt that assessment was correct when his most trusted employee and second in command Doug Pinder becomes implicated when similar parts are found in his truck.

As the accusations against Glen’s wife grow, Glen’s 8 year-old daughter Kelly is chastised by the students in her school and no one wants to be her friend. When she has an opportunity to have a sleepover with her only friend, while playing a game, she overhears a strange telephone conversation that her friend’s mother is having while Kelly is hiding in the mother’s closet. The mother finds Kelly in the closet and tells her not to say anything to anyone about what she may have heard. Kelly gets so upset that she calls her father to come pick her up immediately. While Glen is on his way, the friend’s mother leaves the house apparently to meet with someone she was talking to on the phone. That night she is found dead in what at first appears to be an accident but the reader knows that some other person was involved in her death. Later, the friend’s father presses Kelly for information on the phone call which only makes Glen angry and leads to a fight.

As the story progresses, Linwood Barclay provides the reader some insight through third person discussions between Sheila’s friends that are slowly uncovered by Glen Garber. This changing perspective works very well and of course, the key information is withheld from the reader until uncovered by Glen. Along the way, we learn about different things people will do to gain some money in difficult economic times that they probably would not otherwise do. These lead them into dealing with criminals who are not very reasonable or patient and very dangerous.

This book keeps the reader’s interest going from the beginning to the end. Barclay gives some real and false clues along the way and we trust and believe in Glen Garber as he tries to understand why and what happens to his wife. Of course, Barclay has us distrusting people along the way that may be guilty of some things but not everything. This keeps his twists mostly unexpected as he gives them to us along the way and especially at the end.

This is the first book that I have read by Linwood Barclay and I’ll be sure to read some more. He certainly kept me interested in the book from start to finish and kept me guessing to the end. His characters are believable and did not do the stupid or improbable things that often get in my way of enjoying a thriller.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-0from 73 readers
PUBLISHER: Bantam (August 9, 2011)
REVIEWER: Chuck Barksdale
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Linwood Barclay
EXTRAS: Excerpt
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October 15, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: NE & New York, Thriller/Spy/Caper

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