Richard and Judy Review: No Safe House – Linwood Barclay

Richard and Judy Review: No Safe House – Linwood Barclay

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“A man and a woman sitting calmly in the old couple’s living room, preparing to kill them both if they cannot answer a simple question”

Richard’s review

No Safe House begins with a gripping, chilling scene. An elderly couple leave their house to remonstrate with students living next door who are playing excruciatingly loud music. Returning home, they are confronted with a terrifying scene; a man and a woman sitting calmly in the old couple’s living room, preparing to kill them both if they cannot answer a simple question: ‘Where is it?’

These murders are the first in a chain of bewildering and gory deaths.

When Grace unwittingly breaks into a strange house with her new boyfriend, the bad-boy son of a local villain, her father Terry tries to save her from the consequences of her actions. In doing so, he and Cynthia are relentlessly sucked into a perfect storm of violence, greed, rival crooks and a dramatically rising body count.

Barclay’s fast-paced plot revolves around a mysterious something that competing gangs of ruthless criminals are desperately trying to find; something that is worth far more than mere money to them. I defy you to secnd-guess the outcome – there is a dramatic twist at the very end.

Those of you who loved No Time to say Goodbye will thoroughly enjoy catching up with the (incredibly unlucky) Archer family again. But if you haven’t read the first book, don’t worry. No Safe House stands alone as a gripping and highly original thriller.

“A violent tragedy ensues, and from that moment the Archers are once again involved in a desperate fight for survival”

Judy’s review

At long last Linwood Barclay, the writer Stephen King calls a ‘master of suspense’, has delivered a sequel to his international bestseller, No Time for Goodbye. That stunning thriller was also featured in the Richard and Judy Book Club, and now, years later, so does the sequel – No Safe House.

In his new one, we meet once again the Archer family, Terry, Cynthia, and their daughter Grace. Seven years ago the Archers endured a horrific ordeal that nearly cost them their lives. Now they are leading a tranquil life in their idyllic home town in Connecticut, USA.

All seems well, apart from Cynthia’s neurotic worries about 14 year old Grace, who, like all teenagers, is rebelling furiously against the restrictions her mother imposes to keep her safe. After all, Cynthia was herself only 14 when her drunken night with a local criminal, Vince Fleming, led her into the utmost danger.

As No Safe House begins, Cynthia is living apart from Terry and Grace, realising that her possessive obsession with protecting her daughter is developing into a mental illness. She retreats to a rented apartment to get over it, while still covertly keeping track of Grace, unable to stop herself from following her.

Then Grace hooks up with a slightly older delinquent local boy, who persuades her to break into a deserted house for a dare. A violent tragedy ensues, and from that moment the Archers are once again involved in a desperate fight for survival. They will be reconnected with Vince, the man who saved their lives seven years ago; despite that good deed, Vince is still a ruthless and unrepentant criminal.

Press reviews

Here are a selection of the reviews for No Safe House

“Where has Linwood Barclay been all my life? His is the best thriller I’ve read in five years”

Stephen King

“Killer of a thriller”

New York Times

“Barclay’s enjoyably creepy tale . . . certainly keeps one turning the pages”

The Times