"Rear Window" meets "Rain Man" in this longish thriller from Linwood Barclay, a writer you'd never mistake for a Canadian humorist, which is how Barclay earned his living before taking to penning suspense fiction. Even though it's a long book, I hated for it to end -- there were plot twists up to the very last page. Some I saw coming, most I didn't, but whatever, this is one of those books where there's simply no place to stop listening -- plus you know, as you get to the final hours, that whatever you decide to listen to next won't be half as good.
The plot is too complex to do a decent summary, but it all starts when Thomas Kilbride, a schizophrenic savant (I made that up -- is there such a thing?) who is "simple" in many ways -- a can opener confounds him, while he regularly holds meaningful conversations with Bill Clinton and assorted CIA operatives -- but who has an incredible ability to memorize details of maps, and of what he sees when he roams the world, all via a computer program comparable to Google Street. Without leaving his room, Thomas' goal is to memorize the entire world, and he's well on his way, every street detail of "most" major cities in his head, when he sees something odd in a window while computer-cruising a New York neighborhood. Is that a head in that window up there? With a plastic bag over it? Why would somebody be in the window with a plastic bag over their head?
Thomas convinces his brother Ray, a magazine illustrator who came home following their father's death, to go to New York to check it out. Sometimes, Ray thinks, it's just easier to do what Thomas wants, because when Thomas gets obsessed about something, he never gives up. Never.
What Ray finds out in his visit opens the door to the whole complex story, managed so awfully well by Barclay, as he moves from one story line to another, leaving you hanging at just the right moment each time. Turn the iPod off now? You've got to be kidding.... Not until you find out what happened....
All the way through, it's an excruciating cliff hanger. I have not one word of criticism, not a single suggestion for anything that would have made it better -- except that I wish it had never ended.
Well, okay, the narration is a little odd. Why two narrators? This story didn't call for it any more than any other book. It was fine -- just odd. I have to admit that not until I finished the book did I go back to see which narrator was reading which part. The dueling narrators thing doesn't detract from the book, but it doesn't add anything to it either. Go figure.
Whatever, don't miss this one. Just plan on not being able to quit listening once you start.
I've never known a high functioning schizophrenic, but I feel like I not only met him, but grew to love him like my little brother by the end of the book. He was a totally interesting and believable protagonist. There is just enough tech in it to make it believable. Anyone who has a computer, iphone, or used Google Maps, is going to easily relate to this story. A really solid, well paced thriller that rates a second listen.
I'm a huge mystery fan, but I get tired of reading the same old "whodunit" style books. When a unique style of mystery comes along that is done well, I'm all about it. That's why I was a big fan of this book. When you first hear the premise - crazy dude sees murder on google street view, drama unfolds - it sounds a bit sketchy. But you've got to just trust Linwood Barclay to pull this one off. The idea is so bizarre and the whole concept is written so wonderfully well, with comic moments and every possible detail covered and explained, that you'll end up a satisfied listener. It was definitely a risk to write something this creative and 'out there', and it is a risk that paid off. Very fun listen.
It ranks as a 9 out of 10. I had trouble taking breaks during this one.
Ray...I think he was quite easy to identify with.
The shared audio time rather than having one reader was excellent. Both were very good and made the story that much more enjoyable.
The story was very original. The author did a great job of slowing building the story and creating suspense. There are quite a few twists and turns all the way to the very end.
I normally do not like stories that jump around from different time periods and different characters, but Barclay does a masterful job of using this to further the story and keep the listener guessing.
Nothing. The narrators are average.
No, it is not that type of book.
goddess of thunder
I'm not going to write a book report, enough others have already done so, and really I just wish to validate those who complained about the narration. It is stilted, awkward and lacking in inflection and depth. I understand there are two narrators, but I had difficulty distinguishing between them, although there were times I was more annoyed than others... The story is a good one, and is the only reason I continued to listen. Engaging enough to put up with the poor narration. So, I guess it's worth a credit because the story is truly worth hanging in there. I may hesitate before listening to other books with the same narrators.
Yes, definitely. Loved the way everything came together
The last sentence.
The performance was stilted, had a "reading" quality. I can't help thinking the book would have been a 5 overall with a different narrator.
You think you know what's going on, but you don't!
Great story, really would have been better with different narration. There isn't even that much difference in the two voices that it helps the movement of the story - even distracting at times.