Tag Archives: Too Close To Home

A Life in Books

I discovered this little quiz on Claire’s (Paperback Reader) blog the other day and thought it was an interesting challenge. I have to admit that I cheated a little by adding a couple of books I read later last year though! Some answers are better than others…

Using only books you have read this year (2009), answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title. It’s a lot harder than you think!

Describe yourself: The Uncommon Reader (Alan Bennett)

How do you feel: A Case of Need (Michael Crichton)- need more time!

Describe where you currently live: Too Close To Home (Linwood Barclay)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: The Reef (Nora Roberts)

Your favorite form of transportation: The Thirty Nine Steps (John Buchan)

Your best friend is: Rebecca (Du Maurier) – from primary school!

You and your friends are: The Believers (Zoe Heller)

What’s the weather like: In Cold Blood (Truman Capote)- it’s blimmin’ cold today

You fear: The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)

What is the best advice you have to give: One Good Turn (Kate Atkinson)

Thought for the day: To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)-‘tis a sin…

How I would like to die: The Blind Assassin (Margaret Atwood)

My soul’s present condition: Possession (A.S.Byatt)

Why not try it for yourself?

Linwood Barclay – Too Close to Home

Too Close to HomeAfter reading Linwood Barclay’s first novel No Time For Goodbye
I was in eager anticipation of another offering from this author. I didn’t actually realise it was out in paperback though until the lovely Savidge Reads handed me a copy that he’d picked up specially for me. Book friends are the best.

So what’s the plot?

The Cutter family’s world is turned upside-down when their next door neighbours are gunned down. While shaken by the horrible news, they console themselves that surely it won’t happen again, after all lighting doesn’t strike twice, right? But what happens if the killers went to the wrong house? Once the investigation starts, we start to realise that the members of the Cutter family are in fact harbouring their own secrets. Secrets that could mean the difference between life and death.

My thoughts

Like his previous novel, Too Close to Home is a definite page turner. Event’s are mostly told through the eyes of Jim Cutter, the father of the family and so you experience the fears and drama right along with him. I was gripped right from the start, and with the exception of a slightly slow bit in the middle the novel held my attention all the way through. One issue for me was that I figured out the killer say about 3/4 of the way through. I couldn’t be sure, but the author drops pretty big hints throughout the novel. However to an extent I like to be able to figure it out a bit… makes me feel quite proud of myself!

The voice of the main character Jim, is sort of uber masculine. He’s a hard-working labourer who cuts grass for a living after his dreams of being an artist and a job ferrying the mayor around didn’t quite work out. His impulsive behaviour is often the driving force behind action in the novel so he is key. I found that I didn’t quite empathise so much with Jim as I did with the main male character in No Time for Goodbye because he’s perhaps more of the straightforward american cowboy type (that was my interpretation anyway). Also I found it a bit odd as the first chapter of the book is from his son’s point of view and then the voice changes to Jim’s for the rest of the book. A good technique if it was to be used to switch between characters consistently but perhaps odd that you don’t get Ellen’s (the mother) perspective.

One thing that I really enjoyed was the suspense behind the character’s secrets. You’re tempted with these all the way through and left to wonder why certain characters are behaving so oddly until these are revealed. Also although I can’t say I really related to any of them, but I did like the fact that they were depicted as fallible and therefore very human.

The only critical points really come from comparing this novel to No Time For Goodbye. If you haven’t read Linwood Barclay I would say that should be your first port of call as it is really a superb thriller that keeps you guessing right until the end (Plus it’s only £4.99 on Amazon right now so it’s a good one to get if you’ve got a summer holiday coming up!). Overall though, Too Close to Home was gripping, with plenty of drama and was brilliantly entertaining for my commute home!!