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Fear the Worst    by Linwood Barclay order for
Fear the Worst
by Linwood Barclay
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Tim Blake is a regular guy, a car salesman who (pushed by his ex-wife) tried to run his own dealership and lost his shirt. Now he knows his limits. His beautiful seventeen year old daughter Sydney is staying with him for the summer and working as a receptionist at a hotel, Just Inn Time. He's happy to have her company, though concerned that his ex, Susanne, is living with her boyfriend Bob (who owns Bob's Motors), and that Syd has been sharing their home with Bob's moody nineteen year old son Evan.

One day Sydney does not return home from work, and when Tim seeks her at Just Inn Time, he's told that she never was employed there. He files a missing persons report (dealing with Milford police detective Kip Jennings), searches everywhere, and sets up a website on his daughter's disappearance. Syd's best friend, Patty Swain, who lives on the edge but has a good 'instinct for survival', drops by Tim's house regularly with surprise take-out deliveries and moral support.

As Tim and Susanne grow more and more desperate about Syd's welfare, odd things start to happen. Susanne is sure she is being watched. Tim receives an email report of a sighting of his daughter in Seattle. It pans out but his home is trashed in his absence. Tim's needy, self-obsessed girlfriend, Kate causes trouble. When Syd's car is located, with blood smears in it, suddenly the police are searching for her seriously, as a suspect in the death of low-life Randy Tripe.

Suspense builds as Tim is threatened by thugs who are also seeking Sydney. The police begin to suspect him of other crimes. He has put his job, his reputation and finally his life on the line with only one purpose - to find and protect his beloved daughter. Now, on the run, he receives help from an unexpected source and is hit by shocking revelations as he attempts to save Syd from vile individuals who deal in human trafficking. Linwood Barclay's Fear the Worst is an engrossing thriller, not to be missed.

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