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4.1 out of 5 stars582
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 5 October 2012
I must admit after finishing this book and reading some of the reviews, I'm somewhat surprised by the number of negative comments. I think No Time for Goodbye is a solid, entertaining thriller that's up there with the likes of Harlen Coben etc. Certainly the writing isn't Booker prize winning material, but it's a competent piece of work that had me gripped until the last page.

What is true, however, is that the book is certainly one of two halves. The first has you completely in the dark and steadily ratchets the mystery and tension, and if the final half of the book had continued in the same vein this would be an out and out 5 star masterpiece. Alas a few contrived moments and a little too much "thriller convention" pulls this back from the edge (excuse the deliberate pun for people who have read the book!), but it's still a great read.

Some people have mentioned that they found this entirely predictable, but aside from the final "twist" which I saw coming a mile off, I didn't actually guess what was behind the main plot until close to the reveal. Perhaps I'm a bit stupid, but compared to some of the dross I've read before, I thought this was a clever little thriller that maintained the pace and enjoyment right to the final page.

Not too long, and perfect for holiday/commuting reading, this is recommended.
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on 10 July 2010
When Cynthia is fourteen, her parents and brother disappear. Twenty five years later and Cynthia is married with a daughter, but still haunted by the loss of her family. She agrees to take part in a television re-enactment of the night they vanished from the house, while Cynthia slept and this sets in chain a series of events which will eventually explain why they left without even saying goodbye.

It's a good premise, if a bit farfetched, depending like most of these stories, on a police force who are inept to the point of finding the tying of shoelaces a challenge. That said, Linwood Barclay knows how to spin the yarn - hints and red herrings are placed at the correct intervals along the trail, the writing is unfussy if uninspired and cliff hangers are built into every chapter ending, to keep the pages turning.

I liked it in the way I like watching an ingenious mechanical device - for the sheer enjoyment of seeing how the parts fit together. This is more a piece of clockwork than a work of fiction with the result that at no point did I believe in Cynthia, her husband, her cutely precocious daughter or the story behind her family's disappearance. They moved around the stage and I pretended I couldn't see the strings. If that's how you like your fiction, you will enjoy this too.
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on 31 January 2008
I don't normally read crime thrillers but I read a newspaper review and thuoght I'd at least try reading this particular book. As the other reviewers say it's captivating and the pace and style of writing is excellent. It has inspired me to read more this type of genre that I didn't used to read.
I can only hope this author is encouraged to writes some more novels.I'll be buying them!
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on 7 October 2009
While this is not the genre I usually read, I picked this book as a light holiday read. The first half sucked me in. A tense, believable psychological drama. The major plot was well thought out - what appears to be an insoluble mystery becomes a cleverly explained domestic tragedy. However as the book moves into the second half, credibility flies out of the window. The mild-mannered husband becomes some sort of super hero as the body count rises and the caricatures become more exaggerated. Overall, an entertaining read, though it's a pity the subtle but credible tension that builds initially could not be maintained.
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on 26 August 2009
I picked up this book after being intrigued by the premise. what started off as a very clever novel suddenly seems to come to a grinding halt about 100 pages from the end when Linwood Barclay explains the entire mystery in one huge clump of a chapter. The pace for the first half of this book was brilliant which i would have given 5 stars but it feels like the author just got bored and decided to splurt out the not particularly clever conclusion as if he were racing to the finish.

wish i had stopped reading and let my imagination run wild with the possibilities of what had happened to Cynthia's family but unfortunately i didn't.
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VINE VOICEon 22 December 2013
As far as writing goes, this No Time for Goodbye is the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and fries - cheap, satisfying yet instantly forgettable. The story starts out intriguingly, but develops into a New England setting for Eastenders. The characters are undeveloped, there are no descriptions and the plot moves on to become crass and ridiculous. For me, this book was a complete waste of precious reading time, although I felt compelled to plough on until the end. As a reader, I don't like being duped by the author - Agatha Christie had all the clues hidden away - this was just made up as he wrote. Disappointed by the lack of cleverness.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 September 2008
I thoroughly enjoyed the first three quarters of this book; it was intriguing, fast-paced and I couldn't put it down. Brilliant concept for a novel, a teenage girl wakes up and her family have disappeared, just vanished into thin air - there's no mum in the kitchen, no brother to annoy her, no father sitting reading the paper, just an empty house.
Twenty five years later, a TV programme is made about the disappearance and things start to happen.

Sadly as the mystery unravels it all gets a bit far-fetched, and beyond belief - just a step too far.

Yes, I still couldn't put it down and wanted, like everyone else, to find out what happened to Cynthia's family. But sorry, the ending was disappointing and it could have been so good!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 January 2013
I read this book on recommendation. It starts off well enough, albeit drawn out, like it's trying to make you care about the woman at the centre of the story, but you never really do...she is devoid of any charm or social ability / comment worth noting..and so you're left to concentrate on the big mystery, which takes forever to get to what happened, with nothing really happening along the way and then the end is all excitement and boxes ticking and ends tying with a little curve ball thrown in for good measure...it's not a bad concept, just boringly delivered...
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on 22 September 2011
This is the second Linwood Barclay book I've read, and whilst for me it was better than the absolute *tosh* that was `Fear the Worst' I still have to admit that it wasn't quite as good as I'd been hoping for and I'm so glad this was lent to me and I didn't pay good money for it! Like his other book, it started off well with quite an intriguing premise and then just descended into a rather sensationalistic plotline that caused me to suspend belief (accompanied by lots of eye-rolling). I've awarded the three stars for the first half of this book- the second would probably only get two as it does veer off rather into `WTH?' territory. As other reviewers have summarised the plot, I'm not going to do that, apart from saying that for me, it just didn't live up to expectations.

Parts of the book are very well written, don't get me wrong- and the characterisation is pretty decent (at first) and the idea for the story sounded quite exciting too with a hook that reeled me in from the start; I just felt that all in all, this read a bit like a very bad American movie (released straight to DVD at that, and with mechanical, clunky dialogue supporting this theory). After investing time getting to know the characters and the interesting back story, the book descends into a bit of a shambles. You find yourself suspending any sense of realism, particularly with the ending which is tied up far too neatly. In all honesty, though I don't usually like them very much, I would have probably preferred more of an ambiguous ending here- the conclusion was just far too perfect (and abrupt) for my tastes.

Barclay also chucks in a lot of random red herrings that don't seem to go anywhere. One prime example: the lead protagonists aunt being told she was dying one minute and then the next she was fine- a storyline which just sort of petered out with no explanation. Erm, if I was told I was dying and then I wasn't, I think I would query the intelligence of the medical professionals, but nope, nothing more is said about that.

Oh, and the little girl? She just seemed a bit too smart and astute for an eight year old, not entirely believable- and I'm with her mother, I probably wouldn't let her walk to school by herself at that age either!

My general feeling? A completely overhyped pulpy novel with an ending that tries to be a bit of a tear jerker but that comes across as more contrived than anything else. Worth a look if you have absolutely *nothing* else to read (but only then).
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on 29 September 2008
Great start to the story, draws you in, leads to great expectations...then lets you down with a very predictable and disappointing ending ..which you think .. this can't be! The characters are initially good but are increasingly unbelievable and dissolve into what seems to be the author trying to tie everything up to the conclusion rather than coming up with an exciting ending. Pity it wasn't a better ending, which would have led to a 5 star book.
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