No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay (Bantam, 2007) is a classic example of a contemporary domestic thriller. No spies, no master criminals, no exotic locales, no political intrigue, just ordinary people leading ordinary lives, until one day…..
Cynthia Bigge was 14 years old and delighted to be asked out by the school bad boy. He was so good-looking, who cared about his reputation? Well, her parents for one, so she had to fabricate a story to explain her absence. Her father checked up on her, found she was not where she said she would be, and searched for her at the teen make-out site. He removed her slightly intoxicated self from her date’s car, where he had been plying her with alcohol, embarrassing her to the core in front of her peers, and took her home. The teen-parent argument that followed was epic. She then slammed the door to her bedroom and fell into an inebriated sleep. When she awoke the next morning, she was alone in the eerily silent house. Her mother, father, and brother were gone. The car was gone. No note or sign to explain their absence. They were never found and no clue to their disappearance was discovered. An aunt raised Cynthia and sent her to college.
Twenty-five years later, Cynthia is married with a daughter and she still wants to know what happened to her family. One of the cold case television series agrees to broadcast a re-enactment to perhaps uncover new information. After the broadcast, as usual all sorts of people come forward, not all of them seeking to be helpful. Strange phone calls frighten them. Someone breaks into their house and leaves a hat Cynthia thinks is her father’s. Her husband decides they need help and hires a private investigator, and long-held secrets begin to unravel. The resolution actually has several clues planted along the way, but I didn’t pick up on them because it is so unexpected.
This is my favorite book by Barclay, although Fear the Worst and The Accident run a close second. He is adept at describing everyday people leading routine lives when one slight change sends those humdrum lives into a tailspin. What is particularly interesting to me is that this book re-uses a plot from a Perry Mason mystery with many of the same details. This book is hard to put down once begun, so set aside lots of uninterrupted time before reading the first page.
- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (September 25, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 055380555X
- ISBN-13: 978-0553805550
Aubrey Hamilton © 2017
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal IT projects by day and reads mysteries at night.