No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

No Time for Goodbye

2nd November 2018 – 4/5 stars

I loved the idea behind this story. Imagine waking up one morning to discover that the rest of your family have disappeared. No note, no clues, no warnings. And 25 years later, you still don’t know what happened to them or why they disappeared.

No wonder Cynthia asks a reality TV show to produce a reconstruction to see if it will jog anyone’s memory. And that’s when things start to go wrong and fractures appear in her marriage. But having started, she can’t bail out now, not as events take several sinister turns.

The characters are well drawn and believable on the whole, though I did have to suspend disbelief a little as the mystery unravelled towards the end. All the loose ends are neatly tied, with an added twist when it looks like everything is resolved.

The story was a little laboured in the early stages to show the ‘perfect’ small town family. The screw was turned slowly, inching up the tension, testing the trust between husband and wife as their world began to turn inside out. But once the plot gathered momentum, it was more like a thriller with lots of pace and action, leading to an exciting climax.

The twist that followed was a bit of an anti-climax, no matter how necessary it was to tie up the final loose end, but it didn’t detract from an exciting, carefully crafted story with an ingenious premise.

Think twice before you stir up the past.

4/5 stars.

Description

On the morning she will never forget, suburban teenager Cynthia Archer awakes with a nasty hangover and a feeling she is going to have an even nastier confrontation with her mom and dad. But when she leaves her bedroom, she discovers the house is empty, with no sign of her parents or younger brother Todd. In the blink of an eye, without any explanation, her family has simply disappeared.

Twenty-five years later Cynthia is still haunted by unanswered questions. Were her family murdered? If so, why was she spared? And if they’re alive, why did they abandon her in such a cruel way? Now married with a daughter of her own, Cynthia fears that her new family will be taken from her just as her first one was. And so she agrees to take part in a TV documentary revisiting the case, in the hope that somebody somewhere will remember something – or even that her father, mother or brother might finally reach out to her . . .

Then a letter arrives which makes no sense and yet chills Cynthia to the core. And soon she begins to realise that stirring up the past could be the worst mistake she has ever made.

No Time for Goodbye

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