Tuesday 23 June 2009

FEAR THE WORST by Linwood Barclay

The worst day of Tim Blake's life started out with him making breakfast for his seventeen-year-old daughter Sydney. Syd was staying with him while she worked a summer job - even if he wasn't entirely sure what her job at the Just Inn Time motel actually was - and Tim hoped this quality father-daughter time would somehow help her deal with his divorce from Susanne.

When she didn't arrive home at her usual time, he thought she'd probably gone to the mall to hang with her friends. When she didn't answer her phone he began to worry. When she didn't come home at all, he began to panic. And when the people at the Just Inn Time said they had no Sydney Blake working at the motel and never had, he began to see his life going into freefall. Only one thing has him convinced the worst hasn't already happened: the fact that some very scary people seem just as eager as he is to find her.

The question is: who's going to find her first?

The premise of this story starts out simple enough: Tim's daughter doesn't return home from work one night and he starts to worry. There's no doubt Sydney's missing, so he starts to panic and is determined to do whatever he has to in order to find her.

We see this kind of thing on the nightly news every other night, don't we? A young child or a teenager goes missing. The parents are distraught and don't know what to do, all the time hoping that their child is still alive. You always feel so bad for them, but never think it'll happen to you.

Well, that's exactly how Tim feels. Except, when he goes to the place that his daughter was working at, no one remembers her or even recognises the name. This is where Tim's life begins to spiral into the horrible adventure and mystery of trying to figure out what happened to Sydney. It becomes his sole purpose for living. He never gives up hope that he'll find her, and I found his sheer determination to be one of the things (though there were many) that kept me reading this complicated and unpredictable book.

Along the way Tim is tricked, sent tumbling from one lead to another trying to uncover what his daughter got mixed up in, and the poor guy winds up in danger. His very life's suddenly on the line as he is hunted. No one around him is safe either, and what Tim eventually uncovers is going on in his town will chill you to the bone, and make you wonder just how he's going to dodge the bad guys, the police, and still continue his pursuit of Sydney. Although, the one personal problem he never expected might be the one thing that ties everything together.

Fear The Worst is a grab-you-by-the-throat thriller that throws you one way and then forces you to turn the other way. The whole time I was reading this intoxicating book, I was trying to sort everything out but kept failing every time a new shock popped up. By the time I got to the end, I was exhausted and it certainly didn't turn out the way I expected.

I enjoyed this book very much and couldn't wait to find out what had happened to Sydney. If you start this book, be prepared to be dragged into Tim's heartbreaking problem...

Fear the Worst, July 2009 , ISBN 0752897470, Orion Fiction Paperback

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