The Everyday Joe hero, Glen Garber is a contractor feeling the bite in his bank account as building and remodeling jobs become scarce due to the housing and mortgage crisis. His wife, Sheila, hopes the night school business course she is taking will serve her family in good stead by helping her land a better job now, and, later, when Glen’s business picks up again, she plans to take over managing the company’s books and accounting. But everything changes one night when Sheila doesn’t come home. Glen and their eight-year-old daughter, Kelly, set out in his truck to retrace Sheila’s route and discover the devastating truth—Sheila and two others have been killed in a car accident that she apparently caused.
Glen knows his wife better than anyone--though moments of confusion and doubt occasionally crop up to cloud his judgment--and he is convinced she could never have done this. When he sets out to discover the truth, like the layers on an onion, they slowly peel away to reveal the sordid and surprising secrets of his neighbors—blackmail, adultery, massive debt, and, even closer to home, some suburban housewives, friends of, and including, Sheila herself, have become involved in selling fake designer handbags. It all started as a lark, a way to earn some extra cash in these tough times, fun girls’ nights hosting “purse parties” in each others’ homes, but the ladies soon got in over their heads, trafficking in counterfeit prescription drugs besides purses and owing thousands of dollars to organized crime types who aren’t afraid to put a bullet in somebody’s brain for even the most trifling thing. And Glen soon finds himself fighting to keep Kelly safe and to hold all the pieces of his life together as everything threatens to shatter like the glass in his daughter’s bedroom window the night a bullet came through it.
I have read several of Mr. Barclay’s books, which I have reviewed on this blog, and this, I think, is his best to date. As the story progresses like the twists and turns of a maze complications abound, and the solution to Sheila’s death comes as an unexpected surprise.
Linwood Barclay’s The Accident is a fast roller coaster of a book that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys a good mystery or thriller.