Too Close to Home – Linwood Barclay

Linwood Barclay has been compared to Harlan Coben. I’ve only read a couple Coben novels and they were okay. Too Close to Home is okay, too. But just okay.

Jim Cutter used to drive the mayor of Promise Falls around. The mayor’s a bit of an ass and Jim’s just not the kind of guy to put up with his shenanigans. Now he owns a lawn care company, but the book makes it clear that Jim’s way too smart for the job. His wife, Ellen, organizes a big literary festival for the local college, the president of which is a literary phenom- except for the youth part and the fact that he’s only written one book.  Jim and Ellen have a teenage son, Derek.

The action of Barclay’s novel starts straight away. There’s no simple way to explain it: Derek is hiding at the next door neighbour’s house when they’re all shot and killed. Instead of fessing up to being an almost-witness, he acts like he was somewhere else. Jim tries to figure out why anyone would kill the Langleys, but then comes to realize that perhaps the Langleys weren’t the intended target after all.

It’s a convoluted plot, people. Maybe consumers of this type of story like it that way and despite the fact that Barclay’s ducks do end up in a row by the conclusion, it all seemed – well –  a little silly to me.

I did like Jim Cutter, though. He isn’t perfect, that’s for sure, but he isn’t a pushover either. He is smart and tenacious and often quite funny – especially in his dealing with the smarmy mayor.

I’m not a literary snob. I like a rollicking good suspense thriller as much as the next guy who likes suspense thrillers…but Too Close to Home just didn’t quite do it for me. I have another Barclay novel on my tbr list and I’ll certainly get to it at some point…but I’m not in any hurry.


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