Sunday, September 11, 2011


Family relationships are of the utmost importance in a pair of compelling page-turners that are likely to keep you reading until the wee hours of the morning.

Each book is written by a best-selling thriller writer and comes complete with unexpected plot twists, lots of violence and a nasty villain.

"The Accident" by Linwood Barclay (Bantam, $25) is a superb, taut thriller by the author of "Never Look Away" and seven other acclaimed novels.

After a brief bloody prologue, Barclay shifts into high gear, introducing Glen Garber, a small town Connecticut contractor struggling in today's tough times.

When his wife fails to come back from a night school class, Garber begins to worry. Soon, his worst fears are realized: his wife is dead in a car accident that claimed two other lives.

Garber's wife is accused of being drunk and responsible for the accident; Garber can't believe it. As he investigates, other facts don't add up. Garber, the father of an 8-year-old girl, faces significantly more challenges and an expensive lawsuit.

Barclay ratchets up the tension with the body count rising. Garber's life gets very complicated and soon a relentless killer makes him a target. If you haven't read any of Barclay's books, you're in for a treat.
"Eyes Wide Open" by Andrew Gross (William Morrow, $25.99) is the fifth novel by an author who's become more famous for co-writing many other thrillers with James Patterson.

Jay Erlich, a wealthy New York State doctor, gets upsetting news that his nephew has been found dead at the bottom of a cliff in California.

Erlich flies out to comfort his older brother Charlie and Charlie's wife Gabrielle. While their son Evan had mental problems, they don't believe he was suicidal.

Jay doesn't either; he investigates and discovers a murder that's possibly related. He unearths deep dark secrets involving his brother and a notorious mass murder that took place decades earlier.

Gross based this tense thriller on a few real life situations - his own nephew died in a suspicious fall off a cliff. The Charles Manson-like character is based on Gross' chance encounter with the real Manson Gross had years ago.

The prologue of this novel is set in Michigan - and the victim's parents were from Lansing.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, has reviewed books since 1987.

This review was originally published by the 
Lansing State Journal on Sunday, September 4, 2011.

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