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Take Your Breath Away

June 2022

I have long thought that those cameras people have on their houses have made it really tough to be a crime writer. These days, along with cell phones, GPS and a whole host of devices that make it difficult to ramp up a plot, now we have what is in essence spyware on many doorsteps.

In Linwood Barclay’s TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY, Brie Mason has been missing for six years. She was home alone one afternoon. Her husband, Andy, was away fishing with his best friend, Greg, who also was his business partner. Brie’s only visitors that day was an exterminator who had been called in to see if there was a mouse in the house. But no one saw her after that. Andy has been a prime suspect for years and has never been completely discounted. He sold the house, which eventually was torn down by the new residents, and a new house stands in its place. Andy is now living in a new town with a new name, and he has a new woman in his life named Jayne. He also has split his business from Greg since no one wanted a would-be murderer in their home. But things are finally looking up for Andy.

That is, until a woman who looks very much like Brie stops in front of where her house was and shrieks, “Where is my house?” This exchange is caught on a house camera, and the woman in the photo does appear to be Brie. Max, who had been a neighbor of Andy’s, calls him with the news, which opens the case again and gets the police back involved. So Detective Marissa Hardy is hot on Andy’s trail, and she knocks on his door to talk about these new developments. Andy is not home, so Hardy shares the story with Jayne, who did not know any of this. Jayne now starts to wonder what else she may be missing about Andy. What happened between him and Brie?

Brie starts popping up all over the place. Is this really her? In typical Linwood Barclay style, you are taken in various very plausible directions. Head here, and that sounds right. Head there, and that looks like Brie. He has the plot in his head; we are just along for the ride. Linwood told me that he had this idea a few years ago and had been thinking it through. TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY is a great ride, with a lot of very creepy moments and close calls. And Linwood has outwitted the security cameras to make readers stay on edge right until the end.

Take Your Breath Away
by Linwood Barclay