Monday, 14 October 2013

Books Read: Linwood Barclay - A Tap on the Window

When Cal Weaver stops at red light on a rainy night while driving home, he ignores the bedraggled-looking teenaged girl trying to hitch a lift. Even when she starts tapping on his window. But when she says, ‘Hey, aren’t you Scott’s dad?’ and he realizes she’s one of his son’s classmates, he can’t really ignore her. OK, so giving a ride to a teenage girl might not be the smartest move, but how much harm could it do?

Over the next 24 hours Cal is about to find out. When the girl, Claire, asks to stop at a restroom on the way home, he’s happy to oblige. But the girl who gets back in the car seems strangely nervous, and it’s only when they get nearer their destination that Cal realizes she no longer has the nasty cut that he noticed on Claire’s hand. After he’s finally let her out of the car he remains puzzled and intrigued. But it’s only the next morning that he starts to really worry. That’s when the police cruiser turns up at his door and asks him if he gave a lift to a girl the previous night. A girl who has now been found brutally murdered.

If Cal is going to clear his name he’s going to have to figure out what Claire was really up to and what part he played in her curious deception. But doing so will involve him in some of the small town of Griffon’s most carefully kept secrets – and a conspiracy as bizarre as it is deadly.

Amazon links: Hardback or Kindle

I'd not read any of Linwood Barclay's books before so when I saw a tweet asking bloggers if they'd like a proof copy of A Tap on the Window I decided that I would give this book a try.

Cal Weaver, a private detective, is a man on a mission determined to find the person who sold drugs to his son which later led to his death.  One rainy evening whilst driving round town he's stopped at a stop sign when a young girl Claire taps on the window saying 'Aren't you Scott's dad?'.  Initially he was going to refuse her but as she was a friend of Scott's he didn't think anything of giving her a lift but things take a weird turn when she asks to stop at a local restroom and he realises that the girl who got back in his car is a different girl! After a confrontation he lets the second girl out and continues home but the next day the police arrive at his door to say that Claire is missing and they know he'd picked her up.

The police don't believe his story about there being two girls so he decides to investigate himself to see what exactly was going on.  Why did Claire get out and her friend disguised as her get in?  And things take a turn for the worse for Cal when he discover's Hanna's body not far from where he let her out. Who was Claire trying to run from and where is she now? Can Cal prove his innocence, find Claire and get to the truth?

Initially I have to confess I thought it was a little far fetched, there were certainly a lot of lines being crossed by Cal and other central characters so it was often unclear just who was telling the truth, but the more I read the more I got drawn in and was trying to figure out the clues as to what was going on. Every time I thought I knew what was going on something else would crop up to throw me off the trail resulting in one very late night as I was determined to carry on reading until I'd finished.

I'd like to thank Graeme at Orion for sending me a proof copy of this book and introducing me to this fantastic author, I'll definitely be reading more of his books in the future.  

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