Saturday, October 29, 2016

Review of "Fear the Worst" by Linwood Barclay

Tim Blake, a divorced car salesman in Milford, Connecticut, has his 17-year-old daughter Sydney living with him for the summer. Sydney has a summer job at a cheap local motel called Just Inn Time. One morning Sydney goes off to work and doesn't come home. When Tim goes to Just Inn Time looking for his daughter he's told Sydney never worked there and no one there has ever seen her. Confused and worried Tim reports his daughter missing and begins an obsessive search for her.

When she's not living with her dad Sydney lives nearby with her mother Susanne, who has recently moved them both in with her boyfriend Bob, the owner of a car dealership. When Tim learns that Bob's 19-year-old son Evan recently moved in with them Tim becomes infuriated, convinced this is a recipe for trouble. Evan claims to know nothing about Sydney's disapperance but Tim doesn't believe him. Meanwhile, Sydney's friends offer their assistance. Her ex-boyfriend Jeff Bluestein sets up a website to help search for Sydney and her girlfriend Patty Swain offers moral support and fast food while Tim continues his search.

It soon becomes clear that Sydney was involved in something that put her on the radar of some bad guys and Tim runs into trouble everywhere he turns. To add to Tim's problems the police aren't very helpful. They seem to look at Tim as a suspect in both Sydney's disappearance as well as other crimes that are happening in Milford. Tim's recently dumped girlfriend doesn't help, being angry and neurotic and willing to throw Tim under the bus when she's questioned by the police.

The story is suspenseful from beginning to end and the reader sympathizes with Tim's fear and anguish. He's clearly a nice guy in over his head. The other characters add interest to the story, which moves fast to a dramatic climax. I enjoyed the book and recommend it to fans of mystery thrillers.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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