Rocklin, CA, United States | Member Since 2004
"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.
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