Thomas Kilbride is a map-obsessed schizophrenic so affected that he rarely leaves the self-imposed bastion of his bedroom. But with a computer program called Whirl360.com, he travels the world while never so much as stepping out the door. He pores over and memorizes the streets of the world. He examines every address, as well as the people who are frozen in time on his computer screen. Then he sees something that anyone else might have stumbled upon - but has not - in a street view of downtown New York City: an image in a window. An image that looks like a woman being murdered.
Thomas's brother, Ray, takes care of him, cooking for him, dealing with the outside world on his behalf, and listening to his intricate and increasingly paranoid theories. When Thomas tells Ray what he has seen, Ray humors him with a half-hearted investigation. But Ray soon realizes he and his brother have stumbled onto a deadly conspiracy. And now they are in the crosshairs.
©2012 Barclay Perspectives, Inc. (P)2012 Recorded Books
"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 dont read books twice. But this book was one of the most engrossing and twisted books I have read in a while. It was absolutely fantastic. The characters were unique and intriguing. You say to yourself, how the heck is Linwood going to pull his natural and twists that he does in every book, but somehow he does it. Even the very last sentence will blow your mind.
The last sentence.
No, but the guy that does Ray's voice is fantastic, the other guy is just decent.
Laugh, think about it, enjoy it, loved it.
Don't even waste time reading reviews, just start the book, give it a bit, and you will be COMPLETELY engrossed.
I have an autistic sibling and thought the portrayal of the handicapped brother was right on - in terms of the lack of socilazing skills - I know they said he was schizo but he was so like Asberger's people. That said - I've read other Barclay books and he does have a way to hook you! The story told by multiple view points and at different times, made for a good listen!
Ray Kilbride faces a challenge. He has a full-blown flourishing career as an illustrated writer particularly of political cartoons. But his dad suddenly dies as a result of an accident where the lawn mower tractor tips over while he is mowing the lawn. Ray is forced to come home to rural New York to deal with clearing up his father’s effects, deciding what to do with the house, and, most of all, trying to figure out what he can do about his brother, Thomas, who is schizophrenic and lives totally in his bedroom on his computer. He seems unable to do anything to care for himself. But Ray is determined that he will find some way for Thomas to live which doesn’t involve Ray’s living with him and taking care of him. Then Thomas becomes obsessed with a new computer program, which allows him to zero in on individual streets and residences in cities. He believes that it is his duty to learn all the streets of all the big cities in the world because he is convinced that at some point, electronic maps will be totally lost and we won’t have paper maps anymore. So it will be up to Thomas, with his prodigious memory to help people figure out where to go throughout the world. He believes he is in contact with the CIA and that former President Clinton is his liaison to the CIA. This finally gets him and brother Ray into a world of trouble when Thomas, viewing a street in New York City, becomes convinced that he is seeing a murder through a third story window. At first no one will believe him, but then Ray attempts to help him figure out what is going on, and the brothers are in the crosshairs of some very dangerous people. This is an excellent book, an audio page turner I couldn’t turn off from start to finish.
I couldn't stop listening, and I was engaged trying to figure out just where this was going. I have to admit that with this novel and The Accident, I had a hard time getting into the first hour, but once I'd stepped into the story, I was trapped in Barclay's world. The main character does not do the expected, and the second main character Thomas is totally different from any other character I've seen. Thomas hears voices and is unreliable; at the same time he is emotionally childlike and pure, so he relates plot events that are totally reliable. The main character tries hard not to get frustrated with Thomas, and as a result pursues situations and bad guys that no sane person would. Of course he doesn't realize the troubles that will ensue. The action is riveting. The bad guys are maybe a little extreme, but the contrast between good and evil here makes for great fun. The use of 2 readers makes listening easier, and the narration is wonderful.
Good story. Good plotline. More then anything, I liked hearing about the relationship between Ray and his brother. An entire book just on the two of them fitting into life after the dads death (not a spoiler) would have been a good read. How about a follow up book?
The narration of Ray and his brother was pretty good, but I thought the other narrator was weak and not very expressive.
Thomas is a mentally disturbed person diagnosed with a strange type of schizophrenia. He stays glued to three computer screens in his room, "traveling" all over the world memorizing streets and places using a Web site on the computer. Thomas can come off as being really annoying, but that's just a part of that type of illness and the brilliance with which Barclay has conveyed. Thomas sees in an apartment window on a street in NY while he is scanning the area using a Web sit, What Thomas sees disturbing, very disturbing. Thomas insists he witnessed a homicide over the web
Thomas's brother Ray has come to stay with him to help get things in order after the alleged accidental death of their father. a task that he is sorely prepared to undertake. The job is further complicated by the fact that Thomas insists that he is employed by the CIA and listening to his intricate and increasingly paranoid theories. Ray soon realizes he and his brother have stumbled onto a deadly conspiracy. hey both soon learn that getting involved was huge mistake and now their lives are at stake.
Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy
4 1/2 stars all the way across.
I have enjoyed two other books by Linwood Barclay. This one was a great listen, with a really unique plot that had unexpected twists and never disappointed me, all the way through. Thomas Kilbride, diagnosed schizophrenic, seemed more to me like he had Asperger's syndrome, possibly with a bit of savant thrown in. His ability to memorize maps was extraordinary. However, he admitted to hearing voices and was being treated by a psychiatrist, so it appeared he was a high functioning schizophrenic, too.
I particularly like the relationship between the two brothers and how it improved over the period of the story into something more positive. The behavior of the characters was quite believable for the most part, despite the high number of murders occurring over the course of the story. This book had plenty of tension toward the end, and I had to keep reassuring myself Thomas and Ray would be fine. This book had a complex and interesting storyline that I really enjoyed. It has been adequately summarized in the book description and anymore details most likely would include spoilers.
As to the narration, I am not sure why there were two narrators. The narrator who narrated the two brothers' parts was exceptional--I really loved his voice and stye. The other narrator was adequate but nothing special. He did not detract from the story at all but really lost out in the comparison.
I highly recommend this story for anyone who loves an unusual mystery with well-developed characters.
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I generally don’t like thrillers, but this was a fantastic story… almost.
I could not go all the way and give it 5 stars because there always seemed to be one plot twist too many and it annoyed me. An extra connection too many. An extra layer to the drama that was just not needed.
The basic “I think I saw a murder on Street View” premise was great! No need to guild the lily with all the other unnecessary (and stupid: Sydney Olympics) sub plots.
That’s my only criticism; the story idea was otherwise very appealing.
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