Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Never Look Away-Linwood Barclay

Never Look Away
Linwood Barclay
Delacorte, Mar 9 2010, $25.00
ISBN: 9780553807172

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

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