Richard and Judy Review: Never Coming Back – Tim Weaver

Richard and Judy Review: Never Coming Back – Tim Weaver

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“Never Coming Back is a taut and thrilling novel, his best yet. We can’t recommend it highly enough.”

Richard’s review

Tim Weaver’s central character, investigator David Raker, has been lovingly nurtured through three previous books. As Judy says, we believe this one is the magic bullet that will put him right up there with the top names in crime fiction. One reviewer writes: ‘Weaver’s books get better each time – tense, complex, sometimes horrific, written with flair as well as care.’

Spot on.

So it’s touching to read Weaver’s blog, which is painfully honest and full of angst about the difficulties of being a writer. He has already begun his fifth Raker novel, and has reached that agonising stage (after an author has written the first 20,000 words, roughly a fifth of the book) when the initial rush of euphoria and excitement runs dry.

‘What next?’ he asks. ‘Where do I go from here? As things don’t come together the way you expected, or characters aren’t fitting in as well as they did in your plan, the doubts start to creep in… with Never Coming Back, as with all the others, doubt is my passenger.’

He should not have had any doubt at all. Never Coming Back is a terrific read, spanning thousands of miles from Devon (where Raker grew up in a village based closely on the real-life Torcross) and Las Vegas. There, the punters never sleep and casino ceilings are cunningly illuminated to resemble broad daylight, with sun and blue skies, even at the witching hour of four o’clock in the morning.

As first time novelists ourselves, Judy and I know full-well that horrible feeling, that midnight of the soul, when you lose all faith in your story and despair of ever finishing it.

In Tim Weaver’s case, he shouldn’t have worried. Never Coming Back is a taut and thrilling novel, his best yet. We can’t recommend it highly enough.

“The only sign of life in the house is their pet dog, left behind as a mute witness to what has happened to this apparently normal, happy family.”

Judy’s review

This terrific thriller is Tim Weaver’s fourth book about David Raker, a missing persons investigator, and we reckon it’s a cracker, a real breakthrough novel. This is the one, we think, that will catapult Weaver into the same rank as Mark Billingham and Simon Kernick, both hugely popular thriller-writers.

So, how does it begin? One evening, anticipating a big night out, Emily Kane arrives at her sister Carrie’s house. When she gets there, the front door is unlocked, but there’s no-one inside. The television is blaring, and dinner is cooking in the kitchen, but Carrie, her husband, and their two daughters have disappeared.

The only sign of life in the house is their pet dog, left behind as a mute witness to what has happened to this apparently normal, happy family.

Emily calls the police, and they start to investigate. But they draw a complete blank. Despairing at their inability to trace her family, Emily calls in investigator David Raker. He has built a reputation as a P.I., specialising in finding missing persons; somehow he understands how they think. He soon discovers that it is clear that someone doesn’t want this particular family around. At all.

Why? As Raker begins to unravel the case; to get closer to the truth; he uncovers an extraordinary mystery, a frightening and sinister cover-up spanning decades. And it has cost many, many lives. It dawns on him, as he tries to find Emily’s missing family, that he has made himself the missing target.

Press reviews

Here are a selection of the reviews for Never Coming Back

“I couldn’t put it down”

The Sun

“Weaver’s books get better each time – tense, complex, sometimes horrific, written with flair as well as care”

The Guardian

“Weaver has delivered another cracking crime thriller”

Daily Mail