Friday, December 16, 2016

Far from True

by Linwood Barclay
Signet     2016
532 pages     Mystery

Remind me, please, never to move to Promise Falls, New York!

 Far from True by Linwood Barclay picks up where Broken Promise, the first book in the Promise Falls trilogy, left off—and I do mean left off, or more appropriately, left hanging. Nothing gets solved in Broken Promise

In the startling first chapter of Far from True, a bunch of young adult guys decide to go to the last night at the local drive-in movie theater before it is torn down to make way for progress. Derek, who we met in Broken Promise, decides to hide in the car trunk as a prank. Just as they arrive at the theater, there is a huge explosion and the movie screen falls on two cars killing four patrons. At that point, nobody cares about Derek, the stowaway. Is it terrorism? Or from what we already know about Promise Falls, it may be something far more sinister, although I do have to reassure you that the sinister force (or forces) are neither vampires nor aliens. Oh--but I don't know that for sure.

Several  more of the characters from Broken Promise show up in Far from True, although some of them just wander in and out. This time out, Cal Weaver, a local PI is investigating a break-in at the home of one of the victims, while Detective Barry Duckworth has got a caseload full of murder, mayhem, and violence. The number twenty-three appears and reappears throughout this episode as well. 

As I am writing this, I am wondering how in the world there could be so much bad stuff going on in such a small town. Yet, Barclay is so good at juggling all these subplots, that the reader just keeps reading and reading, totally immersed in page turning. Another of Barclay's skills is character development, which keeps the huge number of characters unconfused in the reader's mind. Several of the characters are memorable, including a treacherous ex-mayor, a highly conflicted college professor, and a little girl who seems to have psychic powers of some sort. There is even some colorful sex to spice things up a bit.  One reviewer called it "a Richard Russo novel gone off the rails."  

And frankly, we get no satisfactory ending. Some crimes are solved, some sort of disappear, and we are reminded of some from the last book. We are left hanging, once again. However, the third book in the trilogy is called The Twenty Three. Maybe we will get some justice yet. 

Barclay is a great storyteller. There are almost 1500 pages in the Promise Falls trilogy. It is incredible that one little town could have so many stories. Read on! Read on!

Review in the Kirkus Reviews.
Linwood Barclay website.

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