Posted in All Book Reviews, Crime fiction, Mystery, Thrillers

Book Review: Find You First (By Linwood Barclay)

I discovered Linwood Barclay when I came across Elevator Pitch. That book had been a fast read, with a lot of connected story arcs, and a satisfying end (check out its full review here). It also got me interested in Linwood Barclay’s other works. Which is how I ended up reading Find You First.

How did it compare to Elevator Pitch? Read on to find out.

Genre: 

Thriller, Mystery

Length: 

438 pages

Blurb:

Tech millionaire, Miles Cookson, had little time for things other than the business empire he built and his success. Until he was diagnosed with a fast-progressing terminal illness. Now, Miles needs to redefine his priorities and address an unexpected challenge – a fifty percent chance that his illness is passed on to the next generation. As a sperm donor in the past, Miles has nine children that he’s never met, nine adults who could be carrying his illness. Determined to equip them with the knowledge of their potential future and a part of his fortune, Miles begins his search for his biological children.

Chloe Swanson, an aspiring film documentarian, knows that her mother used a New York sperm bank to become pregnant twenty-two years ago. And she’s determined to find her biological father and any biological siblings.

When Miles and Chloe meet, they both find some of the answers they’ve been searching for. They also find that someone is killing off Miles’ children. Will they find out who is behind the terrifying events unfolding around them before Chloe becomes the next target?

Overall Rating:

7 out of 10 stars

Plot:

8 out of 10 stars

Characterization:

8 out of 10 stars

Primary Element:

6 out of 10 stars for its mystery; 6 out of 10 stars for its thrill

Writing Style:

8 out of 10 stars

Part of a Series:

No. 

Highlighted Takeaway:

A well-paced crime fiction that may not produce a lot of thrills, but definitely keeps the pages turning with its suspense.

What I Liked:

Linwood Barclay always manages to weave tales with numerous layers in a compelling and taut manner. Find You First is no different. The way the story comes together is great, made better by the fact that its characterization definitely has you invested.

One of the most intriguing (and surprising) parts of the story was one character who was definitely created in the image of (or at least heavily inspired by) an infamous predator who made the news in the past few years. It made the story much more believable and realistic.

What I Didn’t Like:

Like Elevator Pitch, there’s nothing to specifically dislike in Find You First. It checks all the boxes for a mystery and thriller. It isn’t creepy, nor does it give you the chills (like Dead Silence), but it keeps the pages turning. It just isn’t the best mystery or suspense out there and does seem to drag a bit at times.

Who Should Read It:

If you enjoy crime fiction, mystery, and serial-killer-themed books, you’ll probably enjoy Find You First. It also has some emotional aspects that work really well. It is one of those books that you can read over a weekend or carry along on vacation and relax with for a few hours every day.

Who Should Avoid:

If you’re not a big fan of crime fiction or consistent-paced thrillers (instead, preferring to stick to those that make your skin crawl a bit), I’d recommend skipping this one. You could, instead, try Alex North’s The Whisper Man, if you haven’t read it already.

Read It For:

A multi-arced story that keeps you engaged and guessing.

I’m definitely going to be following Linwood Barclay and his books, even if they won’t be my first choice for a “thriller”. They’re excellent comfort reads when you want to follow an interesting story that is gripping but that does not leave you looking over your shoulder.

If you’d like to grab a copy of Find You First, you can get it here. Or get a copy of Elevator Pitch here. Want to share your thoughts on Linwood Barclay and his books? Leave us a comment below. And as always, thank you for taking a quick break at The Book Review Station.

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– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews

Probably Perfect as a Weekend Mystery Read: A Review of Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay

Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay has been on my TBR list for a while. So I was pretty excited to jump right in when I got the book. And I can say without hesitation that it was nothing like I expected it to be.

Genre: 

Thriller, Mystery

Length: 

464 pages

Blurb:

The Mayor of New York is constantly under fire as he battles people’s and journalists’ belief that he is highly incompetent. Two NYPD detectives are called in to investigate the murder of an unidentified body whose fingers are cut off. One New York journalist is hell bent on making sure that every time the Mayor screws up, the city knows. Bombs have been going off across the country in domestic terrorism attacks that are claimed by people associating themselves with a social reform group. The leader of the social reform group denies his involvement in any of the attacks. But… that’s just a normal Monday in New York. Until one of the elevators in one of the many high-rises of the city malfunctions, going right to the top of the building without stopping on any of the floors pressed by its four occupants before plummeting. Writing it off as a tragedy, the city wakes up to another incident of a similar nature on Tuesday. And another on Wednesday. Until officials realize that these are deliberate attacks and drastic measures are put into place. The city comes to an abrupt stop, falling into complete chaos. As lives are lost, terror reigns, and daily life comes to an absolute standstill, the hunt for the perpetrator heats up. Will the coming together of the lives and actions of the journalist, the mayor, the detectives, the social reformist, and the domestic terrorists end in the capture of the one responsible? Or will it lead to something even more horrifying than what the city is already witnessing?

Overall Rating:

7 out of 10

Plot:

8 out of 10

Characterization:

8 out of 10

Primary Element:

6 out of 10 for its thrill, 8 out of 10 for its mystery

Writing Style:

7 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

No.

Highlighted Takeaway:

The hard-hitting description of the chaos that is met will equal parts emotional reaction and apathy. Described through the stories of a few random persons, it leaves you with this feeling of, “what are people turning into?”

What I Liked:

Linwood Barclay does not shy away when it comes to showing you the worst of events or people. It might be difficult to digest, but it adds pace and depth to the story. He also manages to take you through different story arcs, without making it seem to be too abrupt a shift, and brings them all together really well.

What I Didn’t Like:

There is nothing inherently unlikable in Elevator Pitch. It is fast paced, juggles a lot of story arcs well, and even ends satisfactorily. And yet, it falls short of being great. It’s just… good. Why this is the case – I honestly cannot pinpoint. But if I had to highlight what I didn’t like, it would be just that – that it’s a good thriller/mystery that meets the requisites for its genre, but does little more than that.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone looking for a good, fast paced thriller and/or mystery. It’s a good fit for that genre. I will highlight here that the book blurb (on Goodreads and other sites) makes it seem like a straightforward serial killer book. But it’s a lot more than that (which is the part I found unexpected). But, that’s not a bad thing at all!

Who Should Avoid:

Anyone who doesn’t like gore or violence – there is some pretty graphic stuff in Elevator Pitch, and it’s also pretty bleak on the morality and humanity front at times.

Read It For:

The ability to kick back and delve into a fast-paced mystery, without the worry of getting lost in convoluted plot, a flat ending, or anything too unpredictable that takes away from the expectations of the genre. It’s pretty perfect for a weekend mystery read.

That’s about all for this review! 🙂

Coming up next is the review for Simon Beckett’s The Calling of the Grave. If you’d like to share your thoughts on Linwood Barclay’s Elevator Pitch (or anything book related), leave a comment below. And as always, thank you for stopping by and reading my review!

Rishika