Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fear The Worst by Linwood Barclay

"Fear The Worst" is a gripping thriller about an ordinary man caught up in extraordinary circumstances.

Divorced used car salesman Tim Blake of Milford, Connecticut is delighted when his seventeen-year-old daughter Sydney comes to spend the summer with him. After an early morning tiff at the breakfast table, Tim tries to atone with a pizza for dinner, only to discover that his daughter is not working at the front desk of the Just Inn Time hotel as she claimed, and no one there has ever heard of her. So begins every parent's worst nightmare.

Sydney Blake seems to have fallen off the face of the earth and her mysterious disappearance seems destined for the cold case file. The drama escalates as Tim follows up on an Internet tip that his daughter has been seen in a Seattle teen shelter. A photo sent via email seems to prove the tip is legitimate and Tim races to Seattle to investigate. But when he arrives at the teen shelter he discovers that no one by the tipster's name works there or ever has and no one has ever seen his daughter. Frustrated and bewildered, Tim returns home to find his house trashed and cocaine hidden in his pillow and himself the subject of police suspicion.

The story becomes even more tangled and bizarre as Sydney's best friend, the promiscuous party girl Patty, also vanishes, Tim himself almost becomes an abduction and murder victim, the blood of a shady character known to deal in human trafficking, bringing illegal immigrants into the USA and hiring them out as his virtual slaves, is found in Sydney's abandoned car, and when Tim's kookie, self-absorbed on-and-off girlfriend Kate is found dead with a gunshot wound to the head in Tim's house, the spotlight of suspicion is taken off finding Sydney Blake and fixed glaringly on her father. And Tim finds himself running a race against time, to find his daughter before he is arrested.

"Fear The Worst" is a gripping edge-of-your seat thriller and I hope to read more of Mr. Barclay's books in the future.

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