Fear the Worst

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 July, 2010, 12:00am

Fear the Worst
by Linwood Barclay
Orion, HK$104

Linwood Barclay caused quite a stir with his devilish thriller, No Time for Goodbye. His third book, Fear the Worst, picks up where that best-seller left off. This is horror at home, a thriller that pokes its nose into domestic affairs - and fears. The set-up is intriguing after the fashion of Patricia Highsmith. Tim Blake is an ordinary bloke in Connecticut divorced from Suzanne. They have a daughter, Sydney, who is 17. When she comes to stay for the summer, Tim spoils her by cooking eggs for breakfast before she goes to work at the nearby Just Inn Time hotel. He picks her up when she finishes work. Only, one day, she isn't there. In fact, not only is Sydney Blake missing, but no one at Just Inn Time has ever heard the name before. Cue mental disintegration. As with Highsmith, you need to suspend some disbelief to buy the following twists, as Tim discovers what Sydney has been up to and who else is looking for her. Then again, this is a novel, and an entertaining one at that. Barclay builds the suspense credibly and confidently. The reader may well feel like Tim himself - incredulous at first, but before you know it, galloping towards the exciting final revelation.