Take Your Breath Away, by Linwood Barclay

Eight stars

Always a pleasure to read the work of Linwood Barclay, I reached for this book. Barclay spins quite the story, exploring a case in which a woman long-thought dead appears and how her six years away can be explained. Struggling with piecing it all together, the protagonist does all he can to keep his name clean while getting to the bottom of what actually happened Barclay uses his great writing style to pen a winner that will pull the reader into the middle of the mystery before offering a larger perspective and answers to all the questions. An entertaining read that will surely leave the reader wondering where the time went as they fly through the story in short order.

When Brie Mason disappeared while her husband, Andrew, was away, everyone was sure he’d killed her and hidden the body. Andrew vowed that he had nothing to do with it and did all he could to clear his name. Unable to quiet all the critics, Andrew changed his name and tried to begin anew.

When, six years later, Brie appears outside her old home, the neighbours begin talking and reach out to Andrew. Could Brie be back, after leaving no trace for the last number of years? Andrew rushes to follow-up on this, but must also explain the situation to his current partner, who knew nothing about Brie’s disappearance or the allegations made against Andrew.

As Andrew’s life shatters once more, he is left to wonder if his wife is back and what’s happened to her for all these years. The detective working the case has new questions, as does Brie’s family. When, in the heat of the moment, another body is found murdered, many wonder if this is all part of a larger plan to implicate Andrew and resurrect the allegations that he had his wife killed while he was away. It’s a fast-paced story with so many threads that must be tied off, the reader will surely get a little whiplash as Barclay weaves his tale for all to enjoy. A chilling piece that had me flipping pages just to get answers, before it all fell into place!

I have long enjoyed the work of Linwood Barclay, usually because things take on such a high intensity, there is little time to relax. The stories are always well-plotted and the narrative speeds along, forcing the reader to hold on or get lost in the dust cloud that is created. Stellar storytelling and eerily strong plot releases prove that Barclay is at the top of his game and genre.

Linwood Barclay opens his novel with what could only be called an innocent vignette, which turns out to be the hint at something more sinister to come. The narrative builds from there and soon there is little hope of stopping things to catch one’s breath. A handful of strong characters, none of whom are all that out of the normal realm, emerge and the plot thickens, as layers of narrative development overtake what appeared to be a simple case of a missing woman. As past and present collide, Barclay balances both effectively and the reader is able to piece things together with some ease, while still scratching their head to determine how it all happened and what will bring things together in the present. Never disappointed with a Barclay read, I add this to another winner for me, which has me itching for more, when I can find something of his I have not read.

Kudos, Mr. Barclay, for another winner. I cannot wait to locate another of your novels to continue this electric feeling.