If you’re looking for a real estate bargain in the US, look no further than the town of Promise Falls, New York State, which is rapidly gaining a reputation as the murder mystery capital of America, not unlike the county of Midsomer in the UK.
Author Linwood Barclay is exclusively responsible for unwanted accolade, using Promise Falls as the fictional location for three of his six excellent thrillers, including his latest, Trust Your Eyes.
Barclay has found a formula that works. They are set in small town America where an ordinary Joe enjoys an ordinary life that soon becomes considerably stranger before leaping to downright weird.
There are also recurring themes and two in particular – the rottenness of politics and corrupt, self-serving politicians and the decline of the American way of life caused by globalisation.
And yet there is a certain optimism and humour that shines through Barclay’s work which is perhaps unsurprising for a former humourist and columnist for the Toronto Star.
All of these things together in Trust Your Eyes. I don’t like to give away too much of the plot, but I can tell you that the story centres on two brothers, one of whom witnesses a murder. Except he has never visited the city where this murder took place and that he witnessed it months after the event.
I suppose the plot is a modern take on Hitchcock’s Rear Window, although as the twisted threads of the story finally come together it takes on elements of Tarantinoesque black farce of the sort found in True Romance and Pulp Fiction.
But the thing I love most about Barclay’s work is the number of times I think to myself ‘I didn’t see that coming’ which Trust Your Eyes does throughout, literally to the very last page.
I finished the book in just a few days even though I had told myself I would spin it out to savour the experience. A very solid five stars for this book and a must for anyone who likes their thrillers meaty and mysterious.