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TRUST YOUR EYES
by Linwood Barclay
Orion, September 2012
512 pages
18.99 GBP
ISBN: 140911502X


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

On the accidental death of his father, Ray returns to the family home where only his brother Thomas remains - a man with psychiatric problems who rarely leaves his room and spends all day on Whirl360, a search site which allows him to study street patterns worldwide.

Ray is still pondering some odd facts relating to his father's internet searches and death when, by chance, Thomas comes across a visual record of an apparent murder in progress at a window in New York. He presses Ray to investigate, who by visiting the premises is brought to the attention of conspirators seeking to sanitise the life of an up-and-coming politician. These ruthless individuals are in pursuit of Alison, a woman in a position to do him harm. Unaware of their interest, Ray's focus is on his local concerns, but he has already triggered action which will put himself and his brother at severe risk.

Linwood Barclay is the author of several best-selling thrillers and in TRUST YOUR EYES demonstrates that he has mastered the essential elements of his craft. The two strands of the story are smoothly interwoven and the tension is well maintained and accelerated as the book moves to an exciting climax. Despite considerable length this thriller maintains reader interest throughout. The focus of the action moves from the perspective of Ray (told in first person) to that of Alison (told in third person present tense) to other key actors in the drama (third person past). This type of arrangement can help to distinguish the different participants, but after the first few chapters we hear Ray's voice less frequently and Alison's not at all, as though Barclay lost interest in the device. Notwithstanding, the book flows easily and we are never confused as to from whose perspective we are viewing events.

The plot and characters do not stretch credulity more than is normally required for a thriller. Thomas's unusual psychology is very believable, and Ray's uncertainty as to just how firmly his brother's world is based in reality goes a long way to justify the perhaps excessive length of time it takes him to make sense of what has been going on at home, and why he is unable to get Government agencies to take an interest. Alison, a very grubby and anti-social character, is interesting.

The organisation Ray and Thomas come up against is also fairly credible, with reasonable rationale being advanced for all participants, although it seems a little unlikely that such a bad career choice as professional assassin could emerge from pushy parenting, as implied here. It also has to be said that multiple deaths engineered for political ends are far more often seen in conspiracy theories than seems likely in real life. Overall, however, this is a good yarn that will no doubt will be as popular as Barclay's previous books.

Chris Roberts is a retired manager of shopping centres in Hong Kong, and now lives in Bristol, primarily reading.

Reviewed by Chris Roberts, October 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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