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 can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (mystery) - I really loved this book. Thomas, a schizophrenic who spends his time memorizing maps on an ap called World360, thinks he sees the frozen image of a woman being suffocated in the window of a New York hi-rise. He and his brother, Ray, investigate. There's so much that happens in this story and so many unexpected surprises that I can't possibly give it justice in this review. Aside from the image of the woman with the plastic bag over her head, there are a couple other mysteries which are equally exciting as they unravel. The plot is complicated but not hard to follow, so you don't have to wear a thinking cap to enjoy it. Also, the author manages to inject a bit of humor occasionally. Great stuff!
PERFORMANCE - Good job, but I reserve five stars for stellar multi-voice performances. This reader does a great old woman's voice.
OVERALL - Highly recommended for all mature listeners. There's some profanity and references to sexual acts and lesbianism, though there are no actual sex "scenes" in the book. There is also occasional violence.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I hesitated about purchasing this book because so many books from this genre sound really great when reading the editors review, but end up kind of hoaky. This one grabbed my attention from the beginning and held on. I will gladly listen to more books from this author.
However, the narration left a little to be desired. There were 2 male narrators which I couldn't understand why, but that didn't bother me. My complaint about the narration is it sounds sort of stilted, as though the narrators are "reading" the book.
I know that is exactly what they are doing, and perhaps I've gotten spoiled listening to narrators such as Barbara Rosenblat, Roslyn Landor, George Guidell, Scott Brick (who I think would have done a great job on this book) and countless other narrators.
The true testimony of this book is despite the amateurist narration, I finished the book and will now look for more books by this author.
Well worth a credit!
This author has a unique ability to involve readers with his characters. They are people you could know, or work with. They could live next door. He writes about normal everyday people doing what everyone does, and then something unusual happens to one of them. Something unexpected. This is such a story.
Imagine memorizing every street location in the world, along with every apartment building, toy shop, restaurant, beauty shop, and any other structure on each street. That is the goal of one of our characters. Thomas keeps himself glued to his computer almost 24 hours a day cruising a website called Whirl360 which gives him access to the world. It's all he has done for years. He's not great at coping with the real world, and this has been his life. ---until his father dies in an accident and his brother, Ray, comes to stay with him.
One day Thomas sees a supposed murder taking place in an apartment window. He tells his brother and the story is off and running. They start to investigate to see if it really was a murder--never knowing what horrible chain of events will follow.
Once you start listening --it will be hard to find a place to stop. We care about what happens to these people, and the suspense is building. A shocker at the end.
This was my first book by Linwood Barclay- and I was happy I tried it.
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