Elements that are in play are somewhat visible to savvy thriller readers, and the novel echoes a classic movie from the 1960s. Proving that Barclay is a master of manipulation, he pulls a genuinely unexpected twist that throws everything revealed up to that point entirely out the window. This thriller then kicks into high gear as it becomes a race for answers and justice. The author has cast this novel with a group of realistic characters that add to the festivities showcasing a grand design. Predictable becomes unpredictable in this compelling book that echoes the best of Harlan Coben.
Every twist is well prepared, and the primary red herring works well. (I was sure I had things figured out halfway through. Not even close.) The story unfolds at a leisurely pace until the natural momentum starts to accelerate events, after which the reveals come one after another, each building on what came before ... The tying off of all the threads at the end is well done, yet not so neat as to seem contrived. Barclay is expert at keeping his chess pieces in motion throughout so readers can accept the premise of an action with no extraordinary suspensions of disbelief. Thriller fans will find everything they look for and then some ... The end result is a story that picks up speed as it careens toward an ending that Barclay nails.
Barclay imbues his propulsive narrative with a simmering, low menace, and readers won’t help but feel for poor Paul as he falls down the rabbit hole. Is he actually going crazy, or is something else going on? It would be hard to say much more without spoiling the denouement, but I will say that Barclay takes a risk in the last act that lesser authors may not have been able to pull off. This one is a lot of fun, and you’ll want to keep an eye out for the unlikely hero that rises to the occasion in the finale.