THE ACCIDENT by Linwood Barclay


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Barclay’s latest novel follows his staple formula of taking an ordinary guy and catching him up in something that turns out to be much bigger than it first appears.

In this case the ordinary guy is Glen Garber, whose wife, Sheila, is involved in a terrible car accident that kick-starts a series of bizarre events. The accident happened on a night when Sheila was supposed to be taking notes in a college class in a nearby town; instead she ended up dead, along with two others. The police tell Glen that Sheila was drunk and parked on a freeway access ramp when the other car hit her vehicle. Glen and his 8-year-old daughter, Kelly, take the news of her death predictably hard, but even harder for Glen is the idea that his wife, who was a social drinker at best, could have been so drunk. He also has other problems to compound his grief: His contracting business, already struggling in the economic downturn, is barely making its payroll, and Glen’s worried about a house fire in a place he had under construction. As he puzzles through his emotions and confusion, a frantic Kelly calls him, asking him to pick her up from a sleepover at her best friend’s house. While playing a game with her friend, Kelly has taped the girl’s mom having a private conversation on her cell phone. Although the conversation means nothing to Glen at the time, the call becomes more significant when the woman turns up dead. Soon, bodies and crimes begin piling up like recently harvested timber, and Glen realizes not all is right in his world. The Canadian-based journalist twists and turns the plot with believability and spices it with plenty of suspects and suspense. In some places, his homework does seem a bit lacking, but the book remains consistently interesting and ready to please thriller fans with both its action and pacing.

 Barclay has turned in a home run with plenty of edge-of-the-seat moments.



Pub Date: Aug. 9th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-553-80718-9
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2011


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