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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid thriller but a bit formulaic
You can't fault the way Linwood Barclay draws you in at the start of A Tap on the Window. Without any beating around the bush, Private Investigator Cal Weaver finds himself not only accidentally caught-up in a missing person investigation, but he has actually assisted in helping the daughter of the town's Mayor disappear by giving her a lift. When Claire pulls a switch...
Published 22 months ago by Keris Nine

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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read but not quite top notch Barclay.
I am a big Barclay fan, having read all his previous thrillers (usually in 2 days or less) as they came out! So this one was a definite buy it on Kindle as soon as I could. I have met Mr Barclay at the Harrogate Crime writers Festival and exchanged a few words with him. He comes over (by the way) as a warm, chatty man who enjoys meeting his fans. But this time despite a...
Published 18 months ago by Mrs. A. F. Rhodes


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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid thriller but a bit formulaic, 11 July 2013
By 
Keris Nine - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Tap on the Window (Hardcover)
You can't fault the way Linwood Barclay draws you in at the start of A Tap on the Window. Without any beating around the bush, Private Investigator Cal Weaver finds himself not only accidentally caught-up in a missing person investigation, but he has actually assisted in helping the daughter of the town's Mayor disappear by giving her a lift. When Claire pulls a switch then it doesn't get past the eye of a PI, but the real question here is why has she run away and why has she gone to such lengths to do it?

It's an intriguing start and the direct writing holds you as well for what follows in tense and puzzling missing person investigation that has a few interesting aspects and personal issues that leave quite a few possibilities open. There's the small town setting where everyone knows everybody's business, but there's also a corrupt police force in operation, dispensing their own justice on troublemaking teenagers without feeling the need to trouble the courts, or indeed worrying about the necessary paperwork. And most of the townspeople are fine with that if it helps keeps the streets safe.

There's a good theme here then about justice, about crossing the lines, about how far you go to find things out and cover something up and whether it's not just better for everyone to just look away and let things lie. This attitude however introduces tensions between the Mayor and the Chief of Police and it just so happens that the Chief of Police is Cal's brother-in-law. There's also another personal dimension to Cal's interest in the town's troubles that mean that he can't let things lie. His son died a few years go through misadventure while high on drugs, and Cal wants to get to find out who was supplying and distributing drugs around Griffon. He's not above crossing a few lines himself.

Inevitably Cal's lines of inquiry, the actions of the police and search for the whereabouts of the missing girl all come together, though perhaps not the way you might think. Which is part of the problem. Barclay knows that the investigation is going to lose a lot of its mystery and tension once all the pieces start falling into place, so he throws a few standard twists to blindside the reader. That's kind of predictable, but it has to be said it does deliver a proper conclusion, even if it comes at a cost of a significant increase to the body count. Some might think however that Barclay has himself crossed the line here.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tap On The Window, 10 Oct. 2013
By 
Raven (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Tap on the Window (Hardcover)
We all know that Linwood Barclay quite proudly carries the moniker of the Twistyturny Master- okay so I made that bit up- but regular readers of his books will know that as soon as the end of that chapter beckons there will be a surprise in store and a genuine sense of 'Well, I didn't see that coming.' A Tap In The Window, then, was more than a little surprising in largely avoiding his trademark changes of direction (aside from one blinder near the end) and instead presented itself as an altogether more introspective story with a real emotional depth to the whole affair.

From Cal Weaver's initial truly foolhardy actions in giving a lift to, as it turns out, two girls- one goes missing and one who ends up murdered- Barclay neatly controls the interplay between Weaver's involvement in the subsequent investigation, as a private investigator himself, and the obsessive quest he is currently immersed in to track down those responsible for his son's death. Was it really accidental death? Suicide? Or murder? As the nefarious goings on in the local police department and the wider community are revealed, Weaver's life is thrust into a maelstrom of suspicion and murder. As is usual we are slightly wrong-footed by the events as they reveal themselves, but unfortunately I got a whiff of the guilty party and was sadly proved right- damn my prolific reading of crime books- but I wouldn't say it was too obvious so never fear! I was also racking my brains all the way through about the similarity of the girl-switching plot to something else I have read or seen that rather diluted this element of the plot for me, but there was something that impressed me greatly...

I think what I found most compelling about this book, in the light of Barclay's other outings, was the highly sensitive characterisation of both Cal Weaver and his wife, sadly emotionally estranged from each other with their differing responses and reactions to the loss of their son, and their tentative rebuilding of their fractured relationship with, as it turns out, devastating consequences for both. There was a surety of touch in Barclay's depiction of both, that although deftly mirroring his usual high standard of characterisation, just had an added frisson and was made all the more poignant as their former relationship with their son and his growing emotional turmoil come to light. Very nicely done.

Overall, I wouldn't label this as a typical Linwood Barclay book, with the greater attention to the emotional machinations of his central character and the pinpoint study of life and corruption in a small community. However, there are enough trademark Barclay quirks to please most and A Tap On The Window proved itself a satisfying and nicely unsettling thriller.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read but not quite top notch Barclay., 1 Nov. 2013
By 
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This review is from: A Tap on the Window (Kindle Edition)
I am a big Barclay fan, having read all his previous thrillers (usually in 2 days or less) as they came out! So this one was a definite buy it on Kindle as soon as I could. I have met Mr Barclay at the Harrogate Crime writers Festival and exchanged a few words with him. He comes over (by the way) as a warm, chatty man who enjoys meeting his fans. But this time despite a helluva good opener which really sets your teeth on edge, this latest one of Barclays, didn't quite grip me 100 per cent afterall. I wouldn't have stayed up late to keep reading it. Half way through my interest was flagging. Possibly its length, (500 pages plus) tells against it, there is a bit of padding here and there I felt. There seemed to be more exposition and extraneous chit chat than I've remembered in his previous thrillers. Nor did I find the lead character easy to warm to. There were a few characters that were hard to root for actually.
However after a mid -book lull, the tempo did pick up again and the last section truly rattled along, though the ending is without doubt a bit mournful.
So if you're new to Barclay's works, I'd recommend trying one of his earlier ones first. Leave this one till later.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT - My favourite Linwood Barclay book so far, 8 Oct. 2013
By 
Megan ReadingInTheSunshine (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Tap on the Window (Hardcover)
I am a huge fan of Linwood Barclay, I picked up his book No Time For Goodbye, and since then I've been hooked to his writing. As a result, I was SO excited about the release of A Tap On The Window.

Cal Weaver is driving home on a rainy evening, and upon seeing a hitch-hiker, he ignores her. But after she taps on his window and asks "Aren't you Scott's dad?", he realises he can't leave his son's classmate on the side of the road and gives her a lift. On the way home Claire asks to stop at a restroom, but the girl who gets back in the car seems nervous and a lot quieter than the girl who got out. After a while he realises that the girl now in his car is not Claire, and after he lets her out he's even more puzzled. And the next day, the police turn up to ask if he gave a lift to a girl the previous night...a girl who has now been found murdered....

I absolutely LOVED A Tap On The Window! Linwood Barclay's writing is so addictive, and throughout I constantly wanted to discover more. I instantly had so many questions and my mind was buzzing with lots of ideas and feelings about what was going on - Why was there a different girl climbing back into the car? What happened to the first girl Claire?

This is a story where once you pick it up, you won't want to put it down! I was up late at night reading because I was gripped to Cal's story and I desperately wanted to find out the truth about that night and what was going to happen now.

I loved Cal as a character, I really warmed to him - I liked how he was a good guy but at the same time prepared to cross a few lines if it meant getting what he needed. Throughout I was rooting for him to get to the bottom of things and work it all out.

There is a lot of tension in the book, at many points I was holding my breath and gasping out loud at the turn of events. I also liked that there are a lot of conflicts between characters, and that their relationships with each other were complex - it gave an extra edge to the story and it made me suspicious of everyone because I wasn't sure of their true intentions and motives! I don't want to give anything else away but this is a truly thrilling read, and I think Linwood Barclay's best book so far.

A Tap On The Window is fast paced, it is full of twists and turns and it constantly had me on the edge of my seat. BRILLIANT.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A plodding thriller....disappointing, 26 Feb. 2015
By 
Adrian Maxwell "Floreat Aula" (Bedford Falls) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Tap on the Window (Paperback)
This is Linwood Barclays 8th crime thriller. I say crime thriller but LB doesn't write police procedurals or heist novels. His plots centre on the average Joe being drawn into small town corruption, violence and intrique. LB excels at the linear, event driven plot where the reader is taken along with the protagonist as he or she (I don't think LB has yet written about a female protagonist) drives further and deeper into the rotten core of small town USA.

A feature of LB's style is the speed with which events unravel. But here, in A Tap on the Window, I found the plot slow or slowing down almost to a crawl. Carl Weaver is an ex cop (from another small town) now a Private Detective who earns a living doing mundane private investigation work. His wife works at the police station. Her brother is chief of police. Carl gives a young girl a lift one night. She disappears.

The 500 pages of the book are taken up with Carl slowly investigating her disappearance as he comes up against the local cops and his relationship with the various actors. There are backstories - the death of Carl's teenage son and the historical disappearance of a bar owner. I found that the usual speed and drive of LB's narrative was missing in this novel. Carl plodded along as he carried out his usual work and investigated the girl's disappearance because, not unreasonably, he was suspected of involvement in her disappearance. The denouement (of which there were 2!) occur predictably late in the book and, Im afraid, were rather predictable.

I was disappointed but only because LB's previous 7 books were such terrific page turners, a phrase I try to use phrase sparingly but absolutely applicable to his previous books. I can only go 3 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fast paced read, 24 Aug. 2014
This review is from: A Tap on the Window (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed A Tap on the Window and was more or less hooked from the very first page. In his protagonist, Cal Weaver,Barclay has created a character who is far from our expected idea of a 'hero'. Reeling from the death of his teenaged son, he behaves in ways that are far from 'heroic', including terrorising teenagers in an attempt to gain information about the circumstances surrounding his son's death. In fact, we learn that even before this, he had a sketchy past, which led to him losing his job as a police officer, hence his current role as a private investigator. Barclay's skill though is that far from making Cal Weaver unlikeable, all these things serve to make him seem more human and believbable, which is what makes the novel such a compelling read. In the background Barclay has created other, equally as complex characters, including Cal's wife and Chief of Police brother in law. The plot is a standard thriller with lots of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. As a result of his determination to find out what happened to his son, Cal becomes mired in a teenage world and, when two girls disappear, his investigation becomes more and more complicated. It's a fast paced read that will keep you guessing right until the very end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Has written better, 14 Jan. 2014
By 
Mrs. L. Mayne - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: A Tap on the Window (Kindle Edition)
I have read all previous books by Linwood Barclay and I must admit this one didn't grab me quite as much as the rest. I am not saying I didn't enjoy it because I did, but it was not as exciting or page turning as previous books. I was disappointed with with the ending, without going into detail, it left me a bit flat. However, it hasn't put me off, and I will buy the next release as normal.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars his worst book so far, 26 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: A Tap on the Window (Kindle Edition)
I am a big fan of Linwood Barclay but this is my least favourite book. The story isn't as mysterious as others and I don't really like the characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very gripping story, 17 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: A Tap on the Window (Kindle Edition)
Right from the first page my attention was held. The story just got better but I didn't guess the end. I would definitely recommend this book if you like to be kept guessing. I loved it.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tap on the Window, 8 Aug. 2013
By 
This review is from: A Tap on the Window (Hardcover)
Grr. I'm quite frustrated. I wrote a nice long review of this a couple of weeks ago and I was just about to post it when POOF I lost it. Now my memory is hazy and on top of that I've read another book by the author since so this is going to be hard to re-write the review. So I'll keep it brief. I loved this so much! I did figure out a lot of what was going on but not the ultimate unsub and as usual Barclay throws in the twists and turns so the end is not what you think it's going to be. This was a page turner for me; I just couldn't put it down, Normally a book with over 500 pages intimidates me but with Barclay I look up and I'm at the halfway point before I even realise it. It's been a while since I read Barclay and I'm so glad to get back on the wagon! Sorry for the unusual brevity of this review. Not Barclay's very best, but pretty high up there!
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A Tap on the Window
A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay
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