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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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VINE VOICEon 4 July 2008
I'm with the reviews that say this book was very promising, but doesn't live up to its potential. The first half of the book was excellent - the action starts immediately, sucking the reader in; as the drama unfolds the plot seems to thicken, with some moments that were truly chilling to the bone. There was never a moment where I felt bored as the story moves with breakneck speed, and I managed to finish in one sitting.

The second half of the book was, however, a letdown. The story, while it cleverly ties up all the loose ends together, starts to border on the ridiculous in its incredulity and some of the characters seem to have been created for the sole purpose of slotting into the jigsaw very conveniently. Indeed, the story may have been salvaged had more of the characters been better developed: the main 'villain' in the story in particular was so laughably one-dimensional that I was hoping it was a red herring. The main twist in the story was good, one that you would never have guessed from the onset - but the writer eases you into it too gradually so that by the time it arrives, it feels as though it was almost predictable.

At the risk of sounding rather pedantic, I also became increasingly irritated by the unnecessary amount of swearing and the slangy style, mainly within the dialogue. For example, the writer frequently omits the first verb in a question, so that it reads "You going to pick her up?" instead of "Are you going to pick her up?". While I am not against swearing or colloquialisms at all, it feels odd to read such writing in print so many times and I feel that it degrades the novel somewhat to a second-rate genre. However, this may be just hair-splitting on my part and may not be something that will annoy everyone.

All in all, I feel that the basic skeleton of the book is based on a very ingenious idea, one that could have made a great novel. However, the writer's use of clichés and stereotypic characters means that this original concept was never realised to its full advantage. While this book, with its exhilarating and breathtaking speed, would be a good read on a plane journey, it will not be one that will be listed among the greatest of thrillers.
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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 19 January 2009
I bought this book on the basis of the blurb on the back - and have to say it lived up to expectations plot-wise, although I more or less guessed what had happened quite early on, due to a clue in the first chapter. The idea was great - in 1983, 14-year-old Cynthia Bigge wakes up with a raging hangover following a night out with her unsuitable boyfriend and the ensuing row with her father, to find that her entire family (mother, father and brother) have disappeared. The story then brings us forward 25 years, with Cynthia married to Terry Archer, an English teacher, and the mother of an 8-year-old daughter. The story is henceforth told through the eyes of her husband as they try to unravel the mystery of what really happened to her family so many years before.

So far, so good. However, at several points during the story I honestly felt like throwing the book away - I got so irritated with the continuous incomplete sentences, and particularly the use of "Californian Valley-Girl Interrogative" - starting right at the beginning of the story, when Cynthia's mother phones her friend: "Hi - this is Patricia Bigge? Cynthia's mother?" This was annoying enough, but was even worse through being constantly interlaced with "like". Yes, I know some people speak this way ("thanks" to American and Australian soap operas), but I don't need to be reminded of it in a novel!
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on 26 June 2011
I really enjoyed this book which I found hard to put down. Its the kind of book that keeps you guessing and I enjoyed this aspect, a bit like watching a two parter on tv - seeing the first part then trying to fathom what is going to happen next / how its going to end in the second part.

I'm surprised at the poor reviews for this book - I thought it was well written and flowed well. No book is perfect but the ending was credible and not a let down. This is an author to add to your wish list.
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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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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 24 June 2008
What if the ones you loved and cherished the most suddenly just vanished? No good bye, no reason why, one minute they are there and the next they are not. This is the question explored by Barclay in this wonderfully weird and spooky novel. When teenager Cynthia Archer awakes to find her entire family has disappeared (Dad, Mom and younger brother) and must face the next 25 years wondering how, why? Was she left behind or spared? Then she agrees to be interviewed for a TV documentary that is exploring the old case, still searching for clues. Will some one remember something or maybe he Mom, Dad or brother will finally reach out to her. Then she receives something in the mail that makes her wonder if she has made the right decision to pursue this mystery. This is a great story, with plenty of chills but it is also very well written. Along with "Misfits Country" (stunning portrayal of a fictional Marilyn Monroe!) this is my favorite read so far this year.
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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's not a bad concept, just boringly delivered...
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