Never Look Away

( 80 )

Overview

A warm summer Saturday. An amusement park. David Harwood is glad to be spending some quality time with his wife and their four-year-old son. But what begins as a pleasant family outing turns into a nightmare after an inexplicable disappearance. A frantic search only leads to an even more shocking and harrowing turn of events. Until this terrifying moment, David Harwood is just a small-town reporter in need of a break. Now the only thing he cares about is restoring his family. Desperate for any clue, David dives ...

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Never Look Away: A Thriller

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Overview

A warm summer Saturday. An amusement park. David Harwood is glad to be spending some quality time with his wife and their four-year-old son. But what begins as a pleasant family outing turns into a nightmare after an inexplicable disappearance. A frantic search only leads to an even more shocking and harrowing turn of events. Until this terrifying moment, David Harwood is just a small-town reporter in need of a break. Now the only thing he cares about is restoring his family. Desperate for any clue, David dives into his own investigation—and into a web of lies and deceit. For with every new piece of evidence he uncovers, David finds more questions—and moves ever closer to a shattering truth.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The best thriller I’ve read in five years.”—Stephen King

“Outstanding . . . The tension mounts. . . . The surprising twists and appealing characters rank this among the author’s best.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The writing is crisp; the twists are jolting and completely unexpected.”—Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly
 
“Mr. Barclay can flawlessly assume the voice of a small-town American dad.”—The New York Times
 
“Plenty of surprises and twists.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Barclay's outstanding thriller, his fourth stand-alone after Fear the Worst, opens with what should be a happy family outing—a trip to an amusement park. Shortly after newspaper reporter David Harwood; his wife, Jan; and their four-year-old son, Ethan, arrive at Five Mountains in upper New York State, Ethan disappears. A frantic Jan goes to find security, while David soon locates Ethan nearby asleep in his stroller. But now Jan is missing. What's more, the park has no record of selling her a ticket, and she doesn't show up on any security video. Nor is she at home in Promise Falls, N.Y. While the police suspect David killed Jan and concocted the park abduction story, he uses his reporting skills to dig into his wife's past and learns he never really knew her. The tension mounts as Barclay skillfully shows how even the most innocent action can seem suspicious. The surprising twists and appealing characters rank this among the author's best. 5-city author tour. (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
Suspicion falls roundly on a small-town reporter when his wife disappears from a family outing to an amusement park. Jan Harwood had been acting strangely for some time before she disappeared, telling her husband David how much better off he and their son Ethan would be without her. He'd noticed bandages on her wrists, and she'd told him about an aborted suicide attempt at a nearby bridge. Although David assumed she was just going through a phase, when he received an anonymous e-mail from someone who wanted to tell him about some shady doings between a local politician and a for-profit prison operator, he figured he'd take her along when he went to the meet, even if only to keep an eye on her. The next day, after a scare at the amusement park when a bearded stranger briefly made off with Ethan, she was gone, disappearing somewhere between the main gate and the family car, to which she'd returned to fetch a forgotten backpack. Things start looking bad for David when the police notice that David's credit card had only been charged for two amusement-park tickets-one adult and one child-and when his wife is nowhere to be seen on the park's security cameras. When police realize that no one has seen her since the two of them drove to a service station in a wooded area to meet his source, David becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation. David, meanwhile, does a little digging into his wife's past, and begins to suspect he never really knew her at all. Barclay's previous thrillers, especially Fear the Worst (2009), worked by being believable enough to force the reader to see things through the eyes of his Everyman protagonists, who suddenly find themselves thrust into a world of crime,lies and suspicion. But here, with a few exceptions, the characters are far too wooden to clinch the deal, and the writing is bland at best, occasionally dipping into the downright bad. Lame characters and groan-worthy prose make this book a slog.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553591743
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/19/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 266,000
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Linwood Barclay, a former columnist for the Toronto Star, is the internationally bestselling author of seven critically acclaimed novels, including Fear the Worst, Too Close to Home, and No Time for Goodbye, which has been optioned for film. He lives near Toronto with his wife and has two grown children.
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Read an Excerpt

Never Look Away teaser

Detective Duckworth and I headed north, but in under a mile he put on his blinker and turned down a narrow gravel road that went down, then up, winding all the time. The inside of Duckworth’s car smelled of french fries. The smell made me feel sick to my stomach.

Not far up ahead, several police cars and vans blocked our path.

“We’ll walk in from here,” Duckworth said, slowing and putting his car into park.

“Who saw this grave?” I asked. I’d felt my hands shaking a moment ago, and had grabbed the door handle with my right and tucked my left under my thigh, hoping Duckworth wouldn’t notice. I felt I needed to disguise how nervous I was, worried Duckworth would take that to mean I was guilty of something.

But wouldn’t any man, especially an innocent man whose wife was missing, be distraught after learning a body had been found?

“What the locals tell me,” Duckworth said, “is there’s a couple of cabins down at the end of this road, and a guy who lives in one of them spotted something suspicious at the side, went to check it out, realized what was buried there, and he called the police.”

“How long ago was this?”

“Couple of hours. Local cops secured the scene, then they contacted us. We’d already been in touch, putting them on alert about your wife.”

“I told you nothing happened with Jan when we were up here,” I said.

“You’ve made that very clear, Mr. Harwood.” He opened his door, then looked at me. “You can stay right here, if you’d like.”

“No,” I said. “If it’s Jan, I have to know.”

“Absolutely. Don’t think I don’t appreciate your assistance.”

We got out of the car and started up the road, the gravel crunching beneath our shoes. A uniformed officer coming from the direction of the crime scene approached.

“You Detective Duckworth?” he said.

Duckworth nodded and extended a hand. “Thanks for the quick heads up on this,” he said. The cop looked at me. Before I had a chance to introduce myself, Duckworth stepped in. “This is Mr. Harwood. He’s the one whose wife is missing.” The two of them exchanged a quick glance. I could only imagine what this cop had been told already.
“Mr. Harwood,” he said. “My name is Daltrey. I’m very sorry. This must be a very difficult time for you.”

“Is it my wife?” I asked. “I need to see.”

Duckworth reached over and lightly touched my arm. “I really don’t know that that’s a good idea.”

“Where’s the grave?” I asked.

Daltrey pointed. “Just beyond those cars, on the left side. We haven’t moved the body.”

Duckworth tightened his grip on me. “Let me go up there first.  You wait here with Daltrey.”

“No,” I said, breathing in short gasps. “I have to -- ”

“You wait. If there’s a reason for you to come up, I’ll come back and get you.”

I looked him in the eye. I couldn’t get a read on him. I didn’t know whether he was trying to be compassionate here, or whether somehow I was being played.

“Okay,” I said.

As Duckworth went ahead Daltrey positioned himself in front of me, in case I decided to run after him. He smiled kindly. “Looks like it might rain.”

I walked back to Duckworth’s car, ambled around it a couple of times, always glancing back for him.

He was gone about five minutes, caught my eye, beckoned with his index finger. I ran over to him.

“If you’re up to it, I think it would help if you make an identification.”

“Oh God,” I said. I felt weak in the knees.

He gripped my arm. “I don’t know for certain that this is your wife, Mr. Harwood. But I think you need to be prepared for that fact.”

“It can’t be her,” I said. “There’s no reason for her to be up here…”

“Take a minute.”

I took a couple of breaths, swallowed, and said, “Show me.”

He led me between two police cars that had acted as a privacy shield. Once we got past them I looked to the left and where the opposite side of the ditch sloped up there was a five-foot ridge of earth. It was in full view of the road. Draped over the ridge was a pale, dirt-splotched white hand and part of an arm. Whoever that arm belonged to was on the other side of the dirt pile.

I stopped, and stared.

“Mr. Harwood?” Duckworth said.

I took another couple of breaths. “Okay,” I said.

“I can’t have you disturbing anything,” he said. “You can’t…touch her. Sometimes, people, when they’re overcome with grief…”

“I understand.”

He led me up to the grave. When we were close enough that we could see beyond the ridge, Duckworth stopped me.
“Here we are,” Duckworth said. I could feel him watching me.

I looked at the dirt-smeared face of the dead woman lying in that grave and fell to my knees, then pitched forward, catching myself with my hands.

“Oh God,” I said. “Oh God.”
 

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 80 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(27)

4 Star

(32)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(5)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 80 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2011

    a first go and it's a good one

    This was the first book I read from Mr. Barclay. While it's not prose and won't win any literary awards, it IS an excellent read. Inventive, well-written, not overly descriptive...action packed and colorful. Lots of twists and turns and memorable characters. A new favorite.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 1, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    This is an eerie, suspenseful roller coaster ride of enjoyment!

    Newspaper reporter, David Harwood, is investigating possible corruption with regard to a new prison that is being brought to Promise Falls, NY. He and his wife, Jan and 4 year old son, Ethan visit an Amusement Park for a day of family fun. Ethan disappears suddenly as David races frantically around, finally bringing him back,then finds Jan missing. Detective Duckworth naturally suspects David so David does some detective work on his own and keeps finding mysterious facts concerning his wife. One never really knows what is going on inside people's heads. This is a very complex plot full of intriguing twists and "Ah! Hah!" moments that will engage you from the first page and will seem to be attached to your hands because there will be no thought of putting this book down. This is an eerie, suspenseful roller coaster ride of enjoyment.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2012

    What an amazing read

    Within 20 pages i was hooked and never looked back. You owe it to yourself to read rhis one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 4, 2012

    Couldn't put it down.. loved it!!

    Found this author by accident. Have read four of them and each one has a nice story line to make you keep reading to the wee hours of the morning.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2012

    Very highly recommended - a must read!

    His best book yet! I couldn't put it down. Linwood Barclay has the uncanny ability to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire read. If you like suspense, you will love this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good thriller with a nice twist!

    It's been awhile since I've read a good thriller, and this book ended the drought! Had no idea what to expect and Barclay kept me guessing! You think the plot is heading in one direction, then it suddenly goes down a path you weren't expecting! Want to keep this spoiler-free, so suffice it to say that this is a really well-done thriller that won't disappoint!

    Gave this a 4/5 rating as the plot was well paced, had just enough action, the writing was great, and the characters were believable. The ending took me by surprise, and while one of the plot twists was a little too convenient, it was still satisfying. Enjoyed it enough that I'm now going to go back and read his other books. Love finding new-to-me authors!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Can anyone be trusted, Review by Sisterhood Book Club

    In Promise Falls lives a family of three David, Jan and their child Ethan. David works for a small newspaper. It took just one day at the amusement park for his life to be turned upside down along with a 360 turn. Someone kidnaps Ethan and returns him and then his wife goes missing. Without clue in sight to find her but someone leaves clues behind to lock him up for the rest of his life. With the help of his parents taking care of Ethan, David goes on a mission to find out what really happen to his wife. All the clues that lead him to his wife are so shocking that it keeps the pages turning.

    This is my first book by Linwood Barclay and he has a fan for life. In this story that takes place in Promise Falls is written about ordinary people that you can relate to. This story was created in mind of something you would hear about on the news or better yet on nightline. There's one suspect, murder and betrayal in this story that takes off and is very explosive to the point of no return.

    Note: I won this book from the author in a contest

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2014

    My favorite author best one yet

    Great book good plot easy to read and follow

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Barclay does it again

    Once I got started, I could not put it down. Plenty of twists and turns, which he lets you figure out. Linwood Barclay is one of my favorite authors and he didn't disappoint.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2013

    GREAT!

    GREAT!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2013

    Great book, couldn't put it down. I read it in 2 days, real page

    Great book, couldn't put it down. I read it in 2 days, real page turner with good twists.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2012

    Do not reccommend

    There are better books to read than this. The author tries, but doesn't make it.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Really Like it!!

    My first book from this author, it keep you guessing all the way to the end,the characters where so well defined that you actually have hard time thingking that they are fiction and no real, I love it!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 21, 2011

    Wild ride

    I really enjoy this author and his family-in-peril stories and this book didn't disappoint. Loads of surprises and twists to keep you hanging on til the exciting end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    GREAT MYSTERY

    If you want a good mystery, edge of the seat type of book than this is a great one. Finished this book in like two days because I couldn't put it down. Even though it was kind of predicted it still had some twists and turns in it. I have read a couple from this author and he is a great go to for nice reads.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    his is an exhilarating psychological investigative thriller

    In Promise Falls, New York David Harwood is a reporter for the Standard. He has been married to Jan for five years and they have a four-year-old son, Ethan. They seem like the perfect American family. Recently David has become concerned about Jan. She tells him dark things that frighten him. Depressed all the time, Jan believes the two men in her life would be better off if she was not in their lives. Jan talks of suicide so a desperate David suggests she visit their doctor or perhaps a psychologist. She angrily yells at him no as she refuses medical treatment.

    David investigates the opening of a private company run prison owned and operated by Star Spangled Corrections. Inmates will work to pay for their keep and bring the firm profits. David believes something is off kilter with the deal that CEO Elmont Sebastian has made with town leaders; enhanced by a warning not to write anything derogatory or scandalous while his editor at the Standard refuses to print his prison articles. The Harwood trio visits Five Mountains amusement park where first Ethan and then Jan vanish while a frantic David searches for them. Ethan is found, but Jan is not and the police suspect her husband of foul play.

    This is an exhilarating psychological investigative thriller starring a near hysterical lead protagonist who becomes the target of an investigation as no one seems willing to help him. The story line is fast-paced while nicely set up so that the reader comprehends David's need to learn and expose wrong doing while also feeling how deep Jan's depression goes. From there the tale takes off once the family becomes separated at the amusement park. Fans of taut suspense will relish aptly titled Never Look Away.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2013

    Never look away - from the page!!

    Linwood Barclay has done it again! His talent for writing keeps this reader glued until I can't stay awake anymore. His books are exceptional; they are like a snowball that picks up speed and enlarges your interests as the story progresses. I am presently at the half-mark point with this book and as soon as finish on my computer I will go back to this great book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2013

    Great

    First book i have read and it was absolutely wonderful!! I usually can figure out something in a mystery, but. this one left me amazed!! Just a great read. Gotta read another one!!!!

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  • Posted February 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Stretch

    While I enjoyed reading this tale, it is a bit of a stretch. Actually, preposterous. The storyline is ludicrous, but for some reason I could put away those reservations and still enjoy the story...so I guess 4 stars are in order.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 16, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    LOVE ALL HIS BOOKS!

    I love all of his books, magnificent characters and plot! Lots of twists, can't put them down, my only complaint is he doesn't publish quick enough!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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