Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A review of "The Accident" [71]

The Accident by Linwood Barclay
Bantam, ISBN 978-0553807189
August 9, 2011, 400 pages.

Glen Garber's life is starting to fall apart around him.
His contracting business is barely making it in this economy. And a fire at a house he was building may be found to be his fault and therefore not covered by his insurance. But he and his wife have been through difficult times before and dealt with them together. So she is going back to school, taking night classes in business and accounting, so she will be able to help out. And she also tells him she has a lead on another way she may be able to bring in some extra money.

But Glen had no idea how truly terrible things were very shortly going to become. When his wife is very late coming home from her night class, he pack their eight year old daughter into the car and sets out to look for her, hoping her will find her broken down on the side of the road with a dead cell phone. Instead he finds a terrible accident on a highway exit. A car was stopped going the wrong way on the exit, a car coming off hit it, killing the driver of the stopped car and two in the other car. And the driver of the stopped car was his wife, who police say was drunk, and passed out. And is now dead.

His daughter becomes the butt of jokes at school because of her drunk mother...the wife of the man and his son killed sue his for 15 million, saying he should have know his wife was a drunk and stopped her.
But that is the thing. She was not a big drinker and would never, ever has driven drunk. How could this terrible thing have happened then? How could he have been wrong about his wife?
And his life continues to unravel. A friend of his wife dies in another accident, one that is not looking like too much like an accident according to police. A mysterious, evil man is demanding the money he is owed, money Glen knows nothing about, someone takes a shot at his daughter's bedroom window. He starts to wonder if he can even trust his oldest friend, a man in the middle of some deep trouble himself and in desperate need of money.
Gosh, he thought things were bad before!

There is mush to like about this book. It is well written, even if I found the switch between first and third person a bit distracting. And the story is complex with a lot of twists and turns. I though I had the villain picked out..and I sort of did until one last twist at the end that had me saying "Wow..I did not see that coming."

But..and this is almost a deal breaker for me...while Glen is a fairly good character, he comes so very, very close to breaking my number one rule- of acting stupid. OK, your wife gets killed in a way that is totally opposed to the way she lived. Maybe. But then her friend, someone she had a bit of an involvement in a business with, a business that may have some mob ties, get killed too..and you don't consider something is off and that they may be connected until things go on and on for quite awhile. Let's just say he was way too slow on the uptake to make me happy. This guy is just way too nice and trusting for his own good. Or for the good of a good thriller.
I can forgive a lot, but not stupid.

I have read a couple of Mr. Barcley's book before and enjoyed them, but I can not say this is one of my favorites.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book to review.


  1. It all goes back to the slasher films where the girl hears a noise and walks out into the dark to investigate. Really? These people almost deserve what they get if they are that stupid. So I agree, stupid actions don't hold with me.

  2. I was wondering about this one. I have the Net Galley version waiting for me. I hate when there are unrealistic plot points--kinda spoils the whole story sometimes.

  3. Hm, I think I might be able to forgive him his stupidity in the wake of the loss of his wife. This sounds good to me.

  4. I agree - stupid is hard to forgive in a thriller. Sounds like Barcley took part of his story from the tragedy that took the life of both the allegedly 'drunk' driver, Diane Schuler, her nieces and the two men in the other car

  5. TSTL protags annoy me too. Sorry this one wasn't up to your expectations.

  6. I've never read one of this author's books … but this sounded kind of "fun." If they aren't stupid, then how would the book continue on??? : )

  7. i just checked this out at lib. great. -__-

  8. I might take a look at this one. I don't mind "stupid" in a thriller if the stupidity is necessary.

  9. i have about 70 pages left. and i thought i was the only one who found the first/third person thing odd and confusing!


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