Too Close to Home
Bantam, Oct 2008, $22.00
Promise Falls, New York is a small town where big crimes are never supposed to happen. Teenager Derek Cutler hides in his neighbor’s basement crawlspace waiting for them to leave so he have some cuddly time with his girlfriend Penny. When they finally go, he takes a tour of their house, but hears a noise and scurries back to his basement hiding place. The Langleys have returned home because the wife felt ill. Derek waits for them to go to sleep so he can sneak out. Someone enters the house and shoots the entire family; Derek flees without talking to anyone including the police about what he witnessed.
The police find a suspect who lied to them. They realize Derek was in the house when the homicides occurred based on phone calls he made. His earring is found in the bed of the late mother and the blood on his sneaker belonged to his friend Adam. The cops arrest Derek; however other evidence surfaces exonerating Derek who is freed from imprisonment as the charges are dropped. His parents fear the nightmare has just begun as a cold blooded killer is still on the loose and their family may be the target.
Linwood Barclay creates a great complicated crime caper that seems so genuine especially for anyone who has a teen in the household. The murders strip away the veneer of safety in the small town ands secrets become known that were never meant to see the light of day. The only moralistic person in Promise Falls is Derek’s dad Jim who always wants to do the right thing, but also realizes how difficult that can be with so many choices to make that harm perhaps kill someone; often an innocent. Although he knows there is NO TIME FOR GOODBYE with his expecting a stalking killer coming their way, his cerebral ethical pondering adds depth to a strong whodunit that will have sub-genre fans seeking Mr. Barclay’s backlist.