Title: No Time For Goodbye
Author: Linwood Barclay
Publication date: September 1, 2007
Length: 437 pages
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Age group: Adult
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Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository
The house was silent. No sound of her parents getting ready for work, or her brother late for school. Were they punishing her for last night? She’d been out on a date when she should have been studying, and had a huge fight with her father. So where was everyone now? Why had her family disappeared?
Twenty-five years later the mystery is no nearer to being solved and Cynthia is still haunted by unanswered questions. Were her family murdered? Abducted? If so, why was she spared? And if they are alive, why did they abandon her? Then a letter arrives, a letter which makes no sense. Soon Cynthia begins to realise that stirring up the past could be the worst mistake she has ever made…
No Time For Goodbye is one of those books that grab your attention from the very first page. Not having read any of the author’s books I had no idea what to expect from the story but it was definitely a pleasant surprise and I’m really glad I picked this up. I had a few minor issues with it – which I’m going to get to in a minute – and it wasn’t as fast paced as I anticipated but all in all, it was a gripping novel full of twists and turns and with a touching ending.
Before I go even further, I have to warn you that this book is not for those people who get easily put off by the constant use of swear words. If you can stand it, go ahead – if you can’t, this one is not for you. Thankfully, I belong to the first category so it didn’t really bother me but I know it might be a big no-no for some people.
The book has a great premise and, as unlikely as the disappearance of Cynthia’s family might seem at first, Barclay managed to keep me on the edge of my seat all the way till the end. The story is told by Cynthia’s husband, a high school English teacher, who was by far my favourite character. He has this dry sense of humour and this slightly sarcastic attitude which, I think, was a brilliant touch and was one of the reasons why I enjoyed this book as much as I did. I wasn’t that keen on Cynthia’s character but given that she lost her entire family for (seemingly) no reason whatsoever and has lived her entire life not knowing what happened, I could understand why she behaved the way she did.
Generally, I’m pretty good at solving mysteries and putting all those little puzzle pieces together but in the case of No Time For Goodbye I was at a loss. I had absolutely no idea what was going on until quite late in the story, which made it a lot more interesting than some whodunnits I’ve read in the past. On top of that, Barclay did a brilliant job at making me feel just as insecure as the characters must have felt in their own home.
What I didn’t particularly like, however, is the fact that the story was a lot slower than I expected it to be – it wasn’t as slow as to put me off but I would have liked it to be a bit more fast-paced at times. My other issue was with the last third of the book. Throughout the story I had a feeling that it was like watching a film – I could almost see the fear in their eyes and hear the creepy background music – which I really enjoyed at first. But then the whole thing seemed to turn into an extremely long (and quite implausible) car chase scene from an action movie, which did put me off a little bit. Just a little. It was still an enjoyable story and it didn’t make me want to put the book down, but it was still enough for me to say ‘it could have been much better’.
All in all, I have to say I really liked Barclay’s style and will definitely pick up some of his other books. If you enjoy suspenseful books with big twists and you’re not offended by the constant use of the ‘f word’ then I would say this one was made for you. And believe me, just when you think you’ve figured it all out, there comes another twist and you’ll be just as clueless as you were before.
“When Cynthia woke up, it was so quiet in the house she thought it must be Saturday.
If there’d ever been a day that she needed to be a Saturday, to be anything but a school day, this was it. Her stomach was still doing the occasional somersault, her head was full of cement and it took some effort to keep it from falling forward or on to her shoulders. “