Select one of the keywords
Bad Move    by Linwood Barclay order for
Bad Move
by Linwood Barclay
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by David Pitt

Fed up with the violence and general unpleasantness of the big city, science-fiction writer Zack Walker and his family eagerly move to the quiet town of Oakwood. Well, when I say his family, I mean Zack and his wife. His teenaged kids are rather less excited, and predict endless hours of rampant boredom.

Oh boy, are they wrong. Turns out the developer of Zack's new house is a little, shall we say, shady. Some of the neighbours are curious, perhaps even weird. Oh, and somebody in the tight-knit community is a murderer. And Zack is pretty sure he knows who.

Comic mysteries aren't easy (just ask all the writers who fail at them), and Barclay, a Toronto Star columnist, does a first-rate job here. Our hero, Zack, is an engaging narrator, a man a little too concerned with safety issues (he likes to nag his family about cars left unlocked, or keys left in front doors), a little too imaginative (well, he writes sci-fi, after all), a little too paranoid (or perhaps the world really is out to get him).

The plot is solid, well constructed, and genuinely suspenseful. The laughs come at a steady pace, not often enough to overwhelm the story but often enough to keep a smile on your face. At once a gentle satire of life in the suburbs, and a sharply written mystery, the book's a real winner.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews