Along for the ride

Bar­clay de­liv­ers thrills for both adults and young read­ers, Pat St. Ger­main writes.

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - BOOKS -

A Noise Down­stairs

Lin­wood Bar­clay Dou­ble­day Canada

Eight months af­ter small-town col­lege English pro­fes­sor Paul Davis hap­pened on a mur­derer pre­par­ing to dis­pose of a pair of bod­ies — and barely es­caped with his life — he’s still re­cov­er­ing from a nasty head in­jury and deal­ing with PTSD. With help from his ther­a­pist, Anna, and newly at­ten­tive wife Char­lotte, he puts a plan in mo­tion to speed up the heal­ing process by con­fronting his fears, and the killer, head on.

But when Char­lotte gives him a vin­tage type­writer that seems to have a life of its own, Paul’s men­tal state takes a turn for the worse, slip­ping into dan­ger­ously delu­sional ter­ri­tory.

Some tidy fore­shad­ow­ing right off the top sug­gests Paul could be a vic­tim of gaslight­ing, but for­mer Toronto Star colum­nist Bar­clay (No Time for Good­bye) cranks up the sus­pense, putting a tight cast of char­ac­ters and promis­ing plot twists into play. A rogue pa­tient who threat­ens Anna and her clients, pe­riph­eral vic­tims of that dou­ble-mur­der and a hint of ro­mance com­pli­cate mat­ters. And just when you think you see the de­noue­ment coming down Main Street, the thriller takes an un­ex­pected twist — and then an­other, de­liv­er­ing an un­likely saviour and a won­der­fully sat­is­fy­ing con­clu­sion.

Chase; Es­cape

Lin­wood Bar­clay Puf­fin Canada

With a new adult thriller on the launch pad, Bar­clay’s sus­pense se­ries for kids makes a per­fect pair­ing for fam­ily sum­mer reading.

A boy and his bionic spy dog are forced to go on the run from ne­far­i­ous se­cret agents in these fetch­ing nov­els for kids ages 9-12. Chase in­tro­duces spe­cially en­gi­neered dog Chip­per, who’s tar­geted for ter­mi­na­tion when

his play­ful na­ture dis­tracts him from his du­ties at a sin­is­ter govern­ment lab­o­ra­tory. Af­ter a nar­row es­cape, Chip­per makes his way to a lake­side fish­ing re­sort in search of 12-year-old Jeff, whose par­ents worked at the lab be­fore they were lost in a plane crash. With­out his lov­ing par­ents, Jeff and his non-bionic dog Pep­per are liv­ing with and work­ing for his cold Aunt Flo when Chip­per and his pur­suers ar­rive on the scene and pull him into a dan­ger­ous game of cat and mouse (or dog and squir­rel).

Thanks to help from a plucky 13-year-old com­puter whiz named Emily and mys­te­ri­ous re­tiree Harry Green, the en­dan­gered duo beat a hasty re­treat — right into a cliffhanger fin­ish that leads into Es­cape.

On the run with the sus­pi­ciously help­ful Harry Green, it seems cer­tain that Chip­per and Jeff will fall vic­tim to the lab’s ul­tra-evil di­rec­tor. When she sics a sec­ond bionic dog and a ge­net­i­cally al­tered boy on the ru­n­aways, the hun­ters hatch a plot that puts Pep­per and Emily in their crosshairs. But where there’s life — and love — there’s hope.

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