Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Accident by Linwood Barclay, reviewed by Phyllis Humby

Published by Doubleday Canada (a Random House imprint). Available here.

Linwood Barclay’s The Accident is a flashlight-under-the-covers kind of a novel. No way are you going to put this book down until you’ve read every page.

I’m not going to tell you what happens to the book’s main character Glen Garber that sends his life into a tailspin. You can check that out on the cover. (Hint – it was an accident.)

Loved the prologue. Some publishers say that prologues have no place in books anymore. I say they do. Barclay’s prologue is ingenious. You read far enough into the story that you forget all about the prologue and then it becomes one of those ah-ha moments. Gotta love that. The prologue was a great way to jump into the action immediately to grab the reader’s attention. Then the first chapter moves forward at a slower pace – but not for long. Before you finish that cup of tea, you’ll be chasing behind Garber as he races towards the truth.

It occurred to me that the author sacrificed several good books by using their story lines up in this one. Lots of characters and subplots that could have held their own.

There were so many twists and turns that it felt like a rollercoaster ride. Believe me, I devour a lot of suspense and I can usually read between the lines, see something coming, and find stuff that doesn’t fit or make sense. While I was reading The Accident, that didn’t happen. Heck, I couldn’t even find a typo.

Linwood Barclay
A few different times, I thought I’d figured everything out and then actually chuckled aloud at being left hanging in midair – knowing I’d been duped. Nothing predictable about this plot. What a rush! An absolute masterpiece for all you whodunit fans. Barclay manages to interweave all the connections until they seamlessly mesh. 

Another admirable trait is the development of the characters – characters are so important to me – and the realistic dialogue. Man, he really nailed the dialogue. Nothing turns me off faster than reading something that you know is not a natural fit. I admit to being a character and dialogue nitpicker.

Barclay is a master plotsman. Is that a word? It is now. He makes it look easy. It isn’t. Just when you think the story is over – you lurch over another bump and turn the corner. Just when you think you’ve figured out whodunit – you haven’t.

Even those last few pages had me thinking Could she? Will he? The entire book was an adrenalin rush. If you like thrillers as much as I do, it’ll be a winner for you too.

Tell you what, do not start reading this book until you put the cat outside, feed the dog, and turn off your cell.

The Accident by Linwood Barclay – don’t take my word for it. Get it. Read it. Now.

Quick Brown Fox welcomes reviews of plays, movies, restaurants and especially books. Right now, I’d especially love a review of 
Blood by Lawrence Hill
- A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay
- The Headmaster’s Wager by Vincent Lamb
For more information or to send me a review, email me at

Phyllis Humby lives in rural Camlachie, Ontario, where she indulges in her passion for writing suspense/thriller novels. Her stories, often scheming, twisted, or spooky, have been published in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. In addition, she writes a humorous monthly opinion column, “Up Close and Personal” for First Monday magazine. She blogs here and her Facebook page is here.

See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Ottawa, Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Bolton, Bolton, Caledon, Georgetown, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Guelph, London, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Midland, Orillia, Thessalon, Algoma, Kitchener-Waterloo, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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