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Never Look Away
Cover of Never Look Away
Never Look Away
A Thriller
Borrow Borrow

"The best thriller I've read in five years."—Stephen King
A warm summer Saturday. An amusement park. David Harwood is glad to be spending some quality time with his wife and their four-year-old son. But what begins as a pleasant family outing turns into a nightmare after an inexplicable disappearance. A frantic search only leads to an even more shocking and harrowing turn of events. Until this terrifying moment, David Harwood is just a small-town reporter in need of a break. Now the only thing he cares about is restoring his family. Desperate for any clue, David dives into his own investigation—and into a web of lies and deceit. For with every new piece of evidence he uncovers, David finds more questions—and moves ever closer to a shattering truth.
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Linwood Barclay's The Accident.
Praise for Never Look Away
"Outstanding . . . The tension mounts. . . . The surprising twists and appealing characters rank this among the author's best."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"The writing is crisp; the twists are jolting and completely unexpected."—Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly

"Mr. Barclay can flawlessly assume the voice of a small-town American dad."The New York Times

"Plenty of surprises and twists."Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"The best thriller I've read in five years."—Stephen King
A warm summer Saturday. An amusement park. David Harwood is glad to be spending some quality time with his wife and their four-year-old son. But what begins as a pleasant family outing turns into a nightmare after an inexplicable disappearance. A frantic search only leads to an even more shocking and harrowing turn of events. Until this terrifying moment, David Harwood is just a small-town reporter in need of a break. Now the only thing he cares about is restoring his family. Desperate for any clue, David dives into his own investigation—and into a web of lies and deceit. For with every new piece of evidence he uncovers, David finds more questions—and moves ever closer to a shattering truth.
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Linwood Barclay's The Accident.
Praise for Never Look Away
"Outstanding . . . The tension mounts. . . . The surprising twists and appealing characters rank this among the author's best."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"The writing is crisp; the twists are jolting and completely unexpected."—Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly

"Mr. Barclay can flawlessly assume the voice of a small-town American dad."The New York Times

"Plenty of surprises and twists."Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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Excerpts-
  • From the book Prologue

    "I'm scared," Ethan said.

    "There's nothing to be scared about," I said, turning away from the steering wheel and reaching an arm back to free him from the kiddie seat. I reached under the pad where he'd been resting his arms and undid the buckle.

    "I don't want to go on them," he said. The tops of the five roller coasters and a Ferris Wheel could be seen well beyond the park entrance, looming like tubular hills.

    "We're not going on them," I reminded him for the umpteenth time. I was starting to wonder whether this excursion was such a good plan. The night before, after Jan and I had returned from our drive up to Lake George and I'd picked Ethan up at my parents' place, he'd had a hard time settling down. He'd been, by turns, excited about coming here, and worried the roller coaster would derail at the highest point. After I'd tucked him in, I slipped under the covers next to Jan and considered discussing whether Ethan was really ready for a day at Five Mountains.

    But she was asleep, or at least pretending to be, so I let it go.

    But in the morning, Ethan was only excited about the trip. No rollercoaster nightmares. At breakfast he was full of questions about how they worked, why they didn't have an engine at the front, like a train. How could it get up the hills without an engine?

    It was only once we'd pulled into the nearly full parking lot shortly after eleven that his apprehensions resurfaced.

    "We're just going on the smaller rides, the merry-go-rounds, the kind you like," I said to him. "They won't even let you go on the big ones. You're only four years old. You have to be eight or nine. You have to be this high." I held my hand a good four feet above the parking lot asphalt.

    Ethan studied my hand warily, unconvinced. I don't think it was just the idea of being on one of the monstrous coasters that scared him. Even being near them, hearing their clattering roar, was frightening enough.

    "It'll be okay," I said. "I'm not going to let anything happen to you."

    Ethan looked me in the eye, decided I was deserving of his trust, and allowed me to lift the padded arm up and over his head. He worked his way out of the straps, which mussed up his fine blond hair as they squeezed past his head. I got my hands under his arms, getting ready to lift, but he squirmed free, said, "I can do it," then slithered down to the car floor and stepped out the open door.

    Jan was around back, taking the stroller out of the trunk of the Accord, setting it up. Ethan attempted to get in before it had been locked into the open position.

    "Whoa," Jan said.

    Ethan hesitated, waited until he'd heard the definitive click, then plopped himself into the seat. Jan leaned over into the trunk again.

    "Let me grab something," I said, reaching for a backpack.

    Jan was opening a small canvas bag next to it that was actually a soft-sided cooler. Inside were a small ice pack and half a dozen juice boxes, cellophane-wrapped straws stuck to the sides. She handed me one of the juice boxes and said, "Give that to Ethan."

    I took it from Jan as she finished up in the trunk and closed it. She zipped up the cooler bag and tucked it into the basket at the back of the stroller as I peeled the straw off of the sticky juice box. It, or one of the other juices in the cooler, must have sprung a tiny leak. I took the straw from its wrapper and stabbed it into the box.

    Handing it to Ethan, I said, "Don't squeeze it. You'll have apple juice all over yourself."

    "I know," he said.

    Jan reached out and touched my bare arm. It was a...
About the Author-
  • Linwood Barclay is a former columnist for the Toronto Star. He is the #1 internationally bestselling author of many critically acclaimed novels, including The Accident, Never Look Away, Fear the Worst, Too Close to Home, and No Time for Goodbye. Multiple titles have been optioned for film.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 15, 2010
    Bestseller Barclay's outstanding thriller, his fourth stand-alone after Fear the Worst
    , opens with what should be a happy family outing—a trip to an amusement park. Shortly after newspaper reporter David Harwood; his wife, Jan; and their four-year-old son, Ethan, arrive at Five Mountains in upper New York State, Ethan disappears. A frantic Jan goes to find security, while David soon locates Ethan nearby asleep in his stroller. But now Jan is missing. What's more, the park has no record of selling her a ticket, and she doesn't show up on any security video. Nor is she at home in Promise Falls, N.Y. While the police suspect David killed Jan and concocted the park abduction story, he uses his reporting skills to dig into his wife's past and learns he never really knew her. The tension mounts as Barclay skillfully shows how even the most innocent action can seem suspicious. The surprising twists and appealing characters rank this among the author's best. 5-city author tour.

  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2010
    Suspicion falls roundly on a small-town reporter when his wife disappears from a family outing to an amusement park.

    Jan Harwood had been acting strangely for some time before she disappeared, telling her husband David how much better off he and their son Ethan would be without her. He'd noticed bandages on her wrists, and she'd told him about an aborted suicide attempt at a nearby bridge. Although David assumed she was just going through a phase, when he received an anonymous e-mail from someone who wanted to tell him about some shady doings between a local politician and a for-profit prison operator, he figured he'd take her along when he went to the meet, even if only to keep an eye on her. The next day, after a scare at the amusement park when a bearded stranger briefly made off with Ethan, she was gone, disappearing somewhere between the main gate and the family car, to which she'd returned to fetch a forgotten backpack. Things start looking bad for David when the police notice that David's credit card had only been charged for two amusement-park tickets—one adult and one child—and when his wife is nowhere to be seen on the park's security cameras. When police realize that no one has seen her since the two of them drove to a service station in a wooded area to meet his source, David becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation. David, meanwhile, does a little digging into his wife's past, and begins to suspect he never really knew her at all. Barclay's previous thrillers, especially Fear the Worst (2009), worked by being believable enough to force the reader to see things through the eyes of his Everyman protagonists, who suddenly find themselves thrust into a world of crime, lies and suspicion. But here, with a few exceptions, the characters are far too wooden to clinch the deal, and the writing is bland at best, occasionally dipping into the downright bad.

    Lame characters and groan-worthy prose make this book a slog.

    (COPYRIGHT (2010) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from February 15, 2010
    David Harwood is a newspaper reporter in the small town of Promise Falls, where he lives with his wife, Jan, and their young son, Ethan. David's been ruffling feathers while working on a story about suspicious dealings between the local politicians and a privately run prison looking to move into town. Things have been stressful at the struggling newspaper, and Jan has been acting strangely. David is worried, but then Jan surprises him with tickets to a nearby theme park for a day of family fun. But it's not much fun when Ethan momentarily disappears. When he's found, Jan vanishes, and there is no record of her buying the tickets or entering the park. Now the prime suspect in his wife's disappearance, David sets out to prove his innocence and find his wife. VERDICT The pages fly in this gripping, twisty tale of betrayal and heartbreak. Barclay ("Fear the Worst") takes ordinary people and puts them in extraordinary circumstances, creating a tense, fast-paced thriller without stretching the limits of credulity. Sure to please fans of Harlan Coben and Lisa Unger. [See Prepub Alert, "LJ" 12/09; library marketing.]Stacy Alesi, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., Boca Raton, FL

    Copyright 2010 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    March 1, 2010
    David Harwood thinks his only problem is the failing newspaper he works foruntil Jan, his wife of five years, suddenly begins to show signs of serious depression and talks of suicide. When she arranges a trip to a local amusement park for David, their young son Ethan, and herself, David feels encouraged that her mood may be lifting. Unfortunately, in the press of the crowd, Ethan mometarily vanishes, and by the time hes found, Jan has also disappeared. Unlike Ethan, she cant be found. Was she abducted? Did she run away? It isnt long before David is tagged as the number-one suspect in what cops think is her murder, and its up to him to find what really happened. The truth is more bizarre than David could have imagined. Giving what might have been a routine tale some curious twists, Barclays latest stand-alone is a satisfying thriller about a fairly ordinary guy who stumbles into a puzzle that changes his life and family forever.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2010, American Library Association.)

  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Outstanding . . . The tension mounts. . . . The surprising twists and appealing characters rank this among the author's best."
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A Thriller
Linwood Barclay
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