It’s hard to know what to say about Linwood Barclay’s Parting Shot. I loved every moment of reading it, struggled to put it down even to eat or sleep and found myself picking my wits against the author in trying to anticipate how the denouement would play out and who, from the tightly drawn cast of characters, would turn out to be the real bad-asses and who were simply rather unpleasant people.
The beauty of Linwood Barclay – and I have read and enjoyed most of his books – is that he does exactly what he promises. He takes his readers on a cleverly scripted and compulsive journey, full of intrigue, dead ends and shocking cliff-hangers towards a sometimes gory but satisfying ending. Each book, including Parting Shot, is an engrossing page-turner which swivels and swerves down numerous, overlapping, lines and there’s never a loose thread left at the end. But this is also the weakness: there is no more than that. Having been highly entertained, when you put the book down at the end, the lasting memory is having had fun along the way, but on the way to what, I’m not sure. If you’ve loved his previous books, I’m fairly sure that you will love this one too. It is great, action-packed, fast-moving crime and detection, at times reminding you how cruel and callous man can be to man, and at others offering the salvation of decency and soft affection. Just what is needed for relaxing evenings or long train journeys. But the sensation is a little like eating fantastic chocolate after an already satisfying meal: all the fun is in the moment.
PS. This is the fourth book which Barclay has set in the town of Promise Falls, New York, a place that seems blessed with the quality of its police officers and public officials but deeply unfortunate in its history and inhabitants. I am relieved it is fictitious.