Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay .

This book was written for Neetha and in the Acknowledgements, Linwood writes...

Finally, none of this would mean anything without Neetha, Spencer and Paige, who deserves a special thanks. Eating the eggs I'd made her one morning, she said, 'Suppose you came to pick me up at my job, and found out I'd never worked there?'

...Fear the Worst has 471 pages and was written in 2009 but published in Great Britain in 2010. Tim Blake's teenage daughter Sydney is staying with him while she works a summer job at a hotel. But when one day she fails to arrive home from her shift and the staff at the hotel say they have no Sydney Blake working there, Tim Blake - a car salesman - begins to wonder what is going on.

Fear the Worst is written in the first person and it is a crime thriller in the top league. Tim's situation is very easy to relate to and this story has a good pace with a very good attention to detail. It is an engaging story and you develop a great empathy for Tim Blake in his quest to find his missing daughter. Tim has very little information to go on, where is Sydney and why has she lied to him? Why did she not leave a note or phone home?

There are plenty of twists and doubts for the reader to enjoy. You are kept in suspense as to how this story will unfold. This book is an entertaining read but sadly for some families this scenario is a problem they have to bear without a resolution. This novel is a tale of hopeless loss, a missed opportunity and never being able to wind back the clock to be a "good dad". All the options to love and care were taken away from Tim, all his chances are gone forever and he may never get his daughter back and hold her in his arms. You really feel for Tim Blake and as this book ends on page 471 Linwood writes in Italics...

If only I'd known. If only I'd known.

Fear the Worst is a good book and I think it is better than Too Close to Home . I will vote this novel 4 stars on Goodreads . Linwood Barclay has a clear writing style that fully explains the scene. Here are two examples...

They were hemming and hawing over price - we were seven hundred dollars apart. I excused myself, said I was going to take their latest offer to the sales manager, but instead went into Service and scarfed a chocolate donut from a box at the coffee stand, then went back and told them I could only save them another hundred, but we were going to have a custom pinstriper on site over the next couple of days, and if they took the deal, I could get the Accord custom-pinstriped for free. The guy's eyes lit up, and they went for it. Later, I got a ten-buck pinstriping kit from parts and attached it to the order.

I was heading back to the elevator. Milt in hand, when I heard muffled screaming coming from a room at the end of the hall.
A woman's screams. Short ones. Every few seconds.
Not frightened screams. Not screams of terror. They were cries of pain.
I started heading to the end of the hall, pausing at the doors, trying to figure out which room the cries were coming from.
'Aww!' a woman shouted. Nothing for a few seconds. Then, 'Aww!'
That meant waiting a moment at each door, listening for the next cry to determine whether this was the room.
I was hearing another voice now, another woman. She was shouting, 'You don't go home! You here to work! You try to run away again, they make me do this even harder!'
I had the right door.
Then a noise sounded like thwack
And then the woman screamed, 'Aww!'
Something horrible was happening in that room.
I reached into my pocket, felt the key card. Veronica had called it a pass key. I took that to mean that it would let me into any room, not just the one where I'd stayed.
I like to think I would have gone through that door to help any woman who was in trouble, but at that moment, I was going through that door because I thought it might be Syd.
I put the card into the slot, waited, hoped, for the light to turn green.
It did. I withdrew the card, turned the handle, and burst into the room.
'What's going on in-'
And I stopped, tried to take in what I was looking at.
Standing in front of me was the woman I'd run into in the hotel breakfast nook. Cantana. She was in her hotel uniform. She was holding in her right hand a thin, chrome wand, or stick. I looked a little closer and realized it was an old car antenna.
The other woman in the room was kneeling at the foot of the bed, bent at the waist so that her upper body and arms were splayed out on the bedspread. She was dressed similarly to Cantana, but the big difference was, there was blood seeping through her uniform on her buttocks. She turned her head toward me, and there were tears on her cheeks. She was Asian, mid-twenties.
'What you want?' Cantana asked me. 'How you get in here? What you doing with that?'
She was pointing at Milt.
I was speechless. I started backing out of the room, Cantana still yammering at me. 'What you doing in here? Can't you see we having a meeting?'
Once I was all the way into the hall, Cantana slammed the door in my face. I stood there, dumbstruck, then turned around slowly.
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