Linwood Barclay knows how to tease his readers. His new book, Parting Shot, offers plenty of thrilling teases for the mystery and suspense lover.
From the opening pages, Barclay lays out the hook: Brian Gaffney, a naive and innocent looking young man, arrives at the Promise Falls police station babbling about having been abducted, possibly by aliens, and having lost two days of his memories. Detective Barry Duckworth begrudgingly takes the case and soon discovers there’s much more to Gaffney than he initially thought: specifically, a fresh tattoo on his back that seems to be a cryptic confession to murder.
Duckworth has plenty to sort out here, and readers will be eager to go along for the ride. Did Gaffney really kill someone? If so, who? Where’s the body? Why can’t Gaffney remember the past two days? Was he really abducted? As if that weren’t enough, Barclay weaves in another tantalizing plotline as private investigator Cal Weaver is hired to look after spoiled, rich Jeremy Pilford—Promise Falls’ teen celebrity drunkard who killed a young woman while driving his Porsche under the influence. Jeremy may have gotten off easy with the courts, but the court of public opinion has resulted in numerous death threats and a barrage of harassment via social media.
Barclay, who has written 16 novels since bursting onto the scene in 2007, sprinkles in an assortment of hugely entertaining characters in this standalone thriller, grounding the stories in a realistic portrayal of small-town life. But it’s the blend of past mistakes and the persistence of present-day social justice that gives this story a vibrant life of its own.