The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

March 20, 2009

Book review: Psychological thriller hits ‘Too Close to Home’

‘Too Close to Home’

By Linwood Barclay

(compact disc audiobook)

Teenager Derek Cutter had made plans for a romantic week with his girlfriend to use the Langley’s house for a week while they are on vacation. Derek hides in the basement waiting for the Langleys to leave. They leave only to return a short time later when Mrs. Langley becomes ill.

As Derek hides and waits for his chance to escape without being found out, someone enters the house and shoots Mr. and Mrs. Langley and their son, Adam. After the killer leaves, a terrified Derek escapes to his own home without telling anyone.

Despite the closeness of the homes, Derek’s parents didn’t hear the gunshots and they don’t find out about the triple murder until the police pay them a visit the next day. Derek’s father, Jim, used to be a driver for the city’s mayor, but now he runs a landscaping service with help from Derek. Ellen, Jim’s wife, works for the college president, the author of a best-selling book that he has used to his advantage and that plays a large part in the mystery.

Adam and Derek had always enjoyed tinkering with discarded computers, and when the police take him back to the Cutters’ house, Derek notices that one of the old computers is missing from Adam’s room. He also knows what was on the computer and had made a copy of it. Derek shows it to his parents, who cannot escape the secrets from their own pasts.

This psychological thriller is full of twists and turns that kept me guessing until the end. Barclay’s complicated novel contains diverse characters with believable relationships. Christopher Lane’s narration is excellent as usual and certainly added to the suspense.

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