Cannonball Read 5, Book 87: Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay



Back in my review of his novel The AccidentI noted that I may have to break up with Barclay as the law of diminishing returns was becoming ever stronger. I genuinely thought Trust Your Eyes, with its entirely ridiculous premise, would be the end for us. Well, what can I say? I’m a fickle homo and after this, I’ve taken him back and we’re going hot and heavy again.

So, the ridiculous premise – Thomas Kilbride is a schizophrenic, living at home with his dad. Thomas has been obsessed with maps for as long as anyone can remember and now spends his days on a fictional version of StreetView called Whirl360. Thomas believes he works for the CIA and it’s his job to memorise every online 3D map for the day an Unnamed Event wipes out the internet. Thomas’s dad dies in an accident and his brother Ray comes home for a few days for the funeral and so on. Then Thomas is convinced that on one of his days cyber-walking the streets of Manhattan, he’s seen someone being murdered in an apartment window. Thomas is crazy and so initially nobody believes him, least of all his put-upon brother. Eventually Ray decides it’s best to humour his silly brother and visit the apartment where Thomas saw the murder taking place. And then all hell, naturally, breaks loose.

See? That is ridiculous. A 21st century updating of Rear Window, and one that stretches your suspension of disbelief to snapping point and beyond. But it works. The murder is part of a MUCH bigger plot, involving political scandals and hired killers, while Ray has a mystery of his own to solve when it begins to look like his father’s death wasn’t an accident after all. So there is A LOT going on here, but I never felt it was crowded or padded. And I certainly never thought it was boring or silly. I was gripped from the off and the breakneck pace doesn’t let up at any point.

So after some less than thrilling efforts, Trust Your Eyes has returned Barclay to my eclectic list of “must read” authors. When you consider calling in sick so you can stay home and get to the end, you know you’re on to an unputdownable winner. And when you get stung by the nasty final twist, you won’t be sorry, you’ll just be impressed at his audacity.