Jacket Man, by Linwood Barclay

Nine stars

In this coffee-break brief short story, Barclay shows how he can spin a tale and get the reader drawn in after a few pages. Sam is minding his own business at a gas station when he is approached by a Gian Catelli, who is running late for a flight back to his native Italy. Wanting to be the upstanding citizen, Sam offers directions before Gian can race off. However, out of a sense of gratitude, Gian offers Sam an Italian leather jacket for his trouble. Taking things one step further, Gian, who has been in America as a fashion consultant, offers to sell Sam additional jackets far below their retail value. Intrigued, Sam barters and ends up with four additional jackets. It is only when he returns home that Sam realises that things were no quite as they seemed. In true Barclay form, this is only the beginning of the drama that ensues…

While the story itself was brief, I cannot curtail taking the time to extol the virtues of Linwood Barclay and his many wonderful stories. He is a master at his trade and keeps readers hooked with his numerous tales, many of whom spin out of control in that eerie psychological thriller way. One thing the reader can expect with any Barclay piece is to expect the unexpected at the least opportune moment, which only heightens the reading experience. Quick narratives with insightful dialogue, Barclay knows what he is doing and expands his reader base with each published piece.

Kudos, Mr. Barclay for another great addition to your collection. I cannot say enough about your work and how much I enjoy it.