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95 of 97 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripped me from start to finish
When I started reading this book, I kept having the feeling that I'd read it before. The basic plot - family member goes missing, everyone thinks the hero did it and he has to clear his name while realising that the family member had kept secrets from him - is hardly original, having been used by everyone from Linwood Barclay to Harlan Coben. Having said that, the plot...
Published on 11 Mar 2010 by Julia Flyte

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor ending
As an avid reader of all american crime this started off as a great book, sadly the game was given away too early and the ending was very week.
Published on 24 Sep 2010 by Avidreader


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95 of 97 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripped me from start to finish, 11 Mar 2010
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Never Look Away (Hardcover)
When I started reading this book, I kept having the feeling that I'd read it before. The basic plot - family member goes missing, everyone thinks the hero did it and he has to clear his name while realising that the family member had kept secrets from him - is hardly original, having been used by everyone from Linwood Barclay to Harlan Coben. Having said that, the plot does develop in its own unique way and it is maintains the reader's interest from start to finish.

It opens with a family outing to an amusement park. David's wife Jan has been depressed lately and he hopes that a fun day out will lift her spirits. But almost immediately, their four year old son Ethan goes missing. Ethan is found, but then Jan disappears. David goes to the police, but there is no record of her ever purchasing a ticket or even having entered the park. All the evidence suggests that David is lying about what happened and that he has murdered her.

Linwood Barclay is very good at building little twists into his books: dropping clues that you think mean its going one way, but then it goes another way. Every time I thought I knew what was going to happen, it would surprise me.

Unlike some of his other books, Barclay holds the story together until the end. Yes, the final couple of chapters are a little silly, and yes, by the end the plot has just got too far-fetched - but not so much that it spoils your enjoyment of the book.

This is the fourth Linwood Barclay book I've read and I felt it was his best yet.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Enjoyable Thriller, 13 Oct 2010
By 
G. J. Oxley "Gaz" (Tyne & Wear, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Never Look Away (Hardcover)
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On a visit to a local amusement park, Jan, David Harwood's wife of 5 years, goes missing and naturally he comes under close scrutiny by the local police.

That's basically it for the starting point and the author develops his plot, drawing a tight strand of suspicion around the husband for her disappearance/murder. It's very much a standard beginning for this kind of thriller, but Linwood Barclay does takes events in a not altogether expected direction.

For me, what prevents the book being close to a modern classic is he stops short of upping the suspense level to the point where you can hardly breathe as you read on. You're never entirely convinced that the police feel Harwood is really responsible. This is an essential component of the Hitchcockian thriller (yes, I know he made films rather than wrote books, but you take my point, I hope!). Having said that it is still a hundred miles an hour read and I raced through it in a day, finding it to be engrossing, well plotted and, ultimately, satisfying.

One large flaw, without giving too much away, is a major character is forced to live a lie for quite a few years and this didn't strike me as particularly believable. Still, the author isn't going for major realism here - it's pure enjoyable escapism.

I haven't read a single other reviewer's take on this book but I just KNOW that they're going to be drawing comparisons with Harlan Coben, because this novel definitely has his stamp on it: let's call it Coben-lite. Thing is, I found 'Never Look Away' to be preferable to quite a few of Harlan's thillers.

Why 'Surprisingly Enjoyable Thriller' for my title? Well, one of Barclay's previous three novels was a Richard & Judy Book Club selection. This for me is an almost guarantee that the book is fairly bland, and designed to appeal to a very broad (to be snobbish, often not particularly discriminating) readership. However, have no fear, this book is refreshingly good even though it has 'bestseller' written all over it. I'll definitely be looking out for this guy's earlier stuff.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Winner!, 7 Sep 2010
By 
A. Lucas "bookworm" (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Never Look Away (Hardcover)
I couldn't wait for this book to come out, and had luckily finished reading another book the evening before this one arrived in the post. I knew I would be in for a sleepless night or two as once I pick up a Linwood Barclay book, I find it hard to put it down again!

This is another absolutely fantastic read - his books just get better and better. The twists and turns never fail to amaze - the characters are so well described that you find yourself really 'believing' in them and sharing their emotional journey.

I don't want to give any of the plot away, I'd hate to spoil it for anyone. I love this book - and now can't wait for Mr Barclay's next offering.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good indeed, 13 Nov 2010
By 
Andy Edwards "staxasoul" (Essex UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Never Look Away (Hardcover)
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Linwood Barclay covers a similar territory to Harlan Coben, apparently normal suburban American lives, torn apart by events which they are at a loss to understand. But where Coben has become formulaic and repetitive, Barclay has consistently raised his game from his first thriller, No Time For Goodbye. In that novel, an interesting premise and taut writing was let down by a surprisingly mundane denouement.

That is not the case with Never Look Away. Although starting a little slowly, with the set up taking some time, once the real story kicks in things rattle along at pace, with various plot strands and red herrings appearing on almost every page. The small town American characters are believable and the circumstances credible, with only a couple of creaky elements. Still, ignore those and I defy anyone who is into the thriller genre not to enjoy this book.

Recommended
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rivetting Thriller - Highly Recommended, 28 Oct 2010
By 
Scully Bloke (Wiltshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Never Look Away (Hardcover)
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I have to say this is one of the best thriller books i have read in years. Extremely well written, it twists and turns all the way through. As a reader you do not know what will happen next, you can't even guess !!

David Harwood a journalist is investigating corruption of a private company planning to build a new prison. On his day off he takes his wife and son to a theme park. The son and his push chair disappear, then his wife disappears. Is it connected to his investigation ? is his wife dead ? No matter, David becomes the prime suspect.

Its an amazing novel to be read in one sitting. I thoroughly enjoyed it and heartily recommend it to every reader.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor ending, 24 Sep 2010
This review is from: Never Look Away (Hardcover)
As an avid reader of all american crime this started off as a great book, sadly the game was given away too early and the ending was very week.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An average thriller., 20 Nov 2010
By 
Gemma "Chocolatebox" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Never Look Away (Hardcover)
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The Harwood family are off for a day out at Five Mountains amusement park. David is hoping that the trip with four-year-old son Ethan will help his wife Jan with her recent depression, which has consisted of her mentioning suicide. The day however, turns into the start of a complete nightmare, which sees this family being turned upside down.

David ends up becoming separated from Jan, and Ethan has been seemingly kidnapped. After searching desperately he does find Ethan, still asleep in his stroller, but after continuous searching David still can not find Jan. He immediately gets the police involved, his thoughts filled with terrifying visions of Jan taking her own life however, just when he thought this whole situation couldn't get any worse, it does. The police don't believe Jan was ever in the park at all, and David can't see, to prove it. CCTV shows no footage of Jan, only of David and Ethan, and David becomes even more confused when the police reveal that only 2 tickets were ever bought online for the park, and Jan had booked those.

As much as the plot sounds rather exciting to this book, I failed to gain any excitement from reading it. It did start off rather well after the initial event, I was intrigued into just who Jan was and where she had gone, but as the book went on I failed to find myself gripped by it at all. The action is fast paced, and it moves along at a good rate, but I personally found the story hard to believe and at times it did feel to lack depth to me. I often read this book in small bursts, as I failed to be pulled into the story as I felt I should have been.

The ending had everything all come together for what should be an explosive ending, but I couldn't help but feel this was simply a quick way to tie all the ends together. In fact in some parts at the end, I just couldn't understand why David acted in the way he did, and again I had trouble believing these aspects of the storyline. It was all tied up nicely in the end, but after reading it all, I felt more relieved that it was over.

Despite having enjoyed a previous book by Linwood Barclay, I personally didn't find this one all that exciting. I can see it appealing to many, but for me I have read much better in this genre and it doesn't put this book in the top reads for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as previous books, 7 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Never Look Away (Paperback)
This is the third Linwood Barclay I've read (the others being Fear the Worst and no time for goodbye). I have to admit this one was not as good as the previous two. The book, like his others, are full of twists and turns but I found with this book it was obvious pages before each twist what was going to happen.

The characters seem a little one dimensional. There doesn't seem to be much reason behind their action ad they aren't well thought through.

It was an enjoyable overall just disappointing after his other two novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not brilliant, 24 Aug 2011
This review is from: Never Look Away (Paperback)
This is the 4th book I have read of Linwood Barclay's and I still think the 1st one I read (No time for goodbye) was the best. I thought the twists and the idea were good but found the ending a little deflating. Good, but not brilliant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Predictable, 14 Aug 2011
This review is from: Never Look Away (Paperback)
If a suspense thriller is predictable then it's not exactly a suspense thriller, is it?

While not giving away the plot, all I would say is the first time story changes gear I knew where it was headed and having read last three books from the author I would say this was the least impressive.

The other way of evaluating it would be with what choices do you have? If you have any book on your reading list that you have been putting off, this book should not be the reason to postpone that and you can give it a skip if not it certainly won't be a boring read.
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Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay
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