Friday, September 11, 2009

Fear the Worst

A couple months ago, I was thrilled to receive my first Review Copy from LibraryThing. I snagged Linwood Barclay's new thriller, Fear the Worst.

Tim Blake is Barclay's everyman and the driver of all the action. Blake is a divorced car salesman and father of a teenage daughter, Sydney. One day, after a brief argument over breakfast, Sydney never comes home. Weeks go by with no leads. What's a father to do? Well, like most good action heroes, Blake takes it into his own hands. He relentlessly retraces Sydney's last steps, continuously going by the hotel where she worked, her picture constantly in hand. Though Blake is a likable character, I couldn't help but be reminded of Frank Bascombe from Richard Ford's Independence Day and Liam Neeson's character from the movie Taken. I think Barclay got Blake right, but missed out on bringing real tension to the plot. The 'bad guys' aren't bad enough (like Eli Wallach said in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk.")and the reason for Sydney's disappearance wasn't believable enough for me.

Worst of all was the cliche climax. A bridge at night, unlikely suspects, guns being kicked away, just out of reach. It seems as though Barclay was writing a movie script and they put it between covers and called it a book. This isn't always a bad thing. The book was fast and it was fun and I may read Barclay again, but I won't be passing Fear the Worst on to anybody that hopes for the best.


Anonymous said...

aw, that's too bad you didn't really like this book. I admit there were parts that belonged to Hollywood though. I enjoyed the book myself. It's nice to see another review that's opposite of mine though. Remember the part where the salesman was with the three guys at the car dealership? yeah I'd say that's hollywoodish. :)

Mike B. said...

I just expected more and the book didn't live up to my expectations. And I couldn't figure out why Sydney wouldn't call home or why the bad guys just didn't shoot Tim.

But when you read and review books, you have to take the good with the bad (there's a cliche for you)