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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay



Great Escapist Fiction.

Published in 2012 by NAL (New American Library)

Linwood Barclay. I came across him almost by accident about 3 years ago and he is one of my favorite authors to go looking for. He doesn't write series (at least not anymore) so you can just jump in and go for a ride. His books feature regular guys who get stuck in an extraordinary circumstance not of their making.


Linwood Barclay
In Trust Your Eyes two grown brothers are re-united due to the death of their father. One of the brothers (Ray) is  a political cartoonist. The other, Thomas, has some sort of schizophrenia that keeps him housebound. To be honest, he seemed more autistic to me (as a teacher I have ran across enough students on the autistic spectrum to readily identify the behaviors) but that is neither here nor there. Thomas has an obsession - maps. He hangs them on the wall, he studies them, he memorizes them and he cruises the internet everyday looking at Whirl360, a website that is a lot like Google Maps Street View. He cruises up and down street after street, memorizing them. He has hardly traveled anywhere but he can describe in detail how to get to the nearest bakery from just about any hotel in America. Here's the kicker - Thomas cruises the internet to look at Whirl360 because he believes that former President Bill Clinton has asked him to do it on behalf of the CIA just in case the internet crashes and their agents need to use him as a map resource.

One day, while Thomas is using Whirl360 to look at New York City he happens to look up and see something odd. Whirl360 is fictional but is based on Google Maps Street View which creates a virtual street view of the address you are looking for. That virtual view is created by putting together a series of pictures taken by cars that have an odd contraption on their roof that take a lot of high quality photos as they drive up and down the street. Google has a lot of fans that peruse the sight looking for strange things such as kids ramping dirt bikes or police officers writing tickets. In this case, the camera caught something very odd in a third story window. Thomas thinks it looks a face inside a plastic bag being choked to death. The only problem is that Thomas' behavior is so strange and he is so socially inept that no one believes him or even begins to understand what he is talking about.

That is until, one day, he shows the picture to Ray and then convinces Ray to go to the building to investigate when he is New York City on business. Then, everything falls apart very quickly...

What Linwood Barclay has done here is what he does best - put a regular guy in the midst of a criminal conspiracy that threatens to undo everything he knows and may even kill him. It is entertaining, a breeze to read and offers some great escapism.

I rate Trust Your Eyes 4 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Trust Your Eyes.

Reviewed on August 19, 2012.

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