Book Review: Novella Fun before Book Two

*originally published on 03/21/2016 and 03/23/2016

25819171FINAL ASSIGNMENT  (Promise Falls: #1.5) Written by Linwood Barclay

2016; 77 Pages (Doubleday Canada)
Genres: novella, mystery, suspense, series

Rating: ★★★★

In this novella we see Cal Weaver, a private investigator, hired by a mother looking to get back at the school that wants to punish her son for writing a disturbing short story.  As Cal tries to to tell the mother that there is nothing he can really do the young man’s story comes to life with the death of his best friend.  The dead teenager’s parents are Cal’s friends, and along with his curiosity, he soon finds himself trying to find the murderer. I enjoyed this story as it was very concise and suspenseful. I am hoping that this is good news for the second book, Far From True. My one thing about the first book was that it was too long and too drawn out.  This short story is like Barclay’s other standalone novels that I love.

 

51FmmLRoxhL._SX339_BO1,204,203,200_FAR FROM TRUE (Promise Falls: #2) Written by Linwood Barclay

MARCH 22, 2016; 480 Pages
Genre: mystery, suspense, series

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)

Rating: ★★★1/2

Wow, this seemed like one very long novel! I thought I would finish Far From True yesterday but I literally just finished reading.  Trying to complete this book has put me a bit behind on my posting schedule so please forgive me and Linwood Barclay on that delay 🙂  I will first say that I enjoyed this novel a lot more than I thought I would especially since the last book was not as promising (pardon the pun) as I expected from Barclay.  (His standalone novels are very much like Harlan Coben’s writing).  I think with all the introductions of characters, background and plots and setting up of the series arc finally out of the way it was more enjoyable to read. In having said that, I am sure this one could have been edited down a wee bit more.

Barclay’s novella (Book #1.5) Final Assignment sets us up for Cal Weaver’s point of view in this novel.  Cal, former cop turned private investigator, is a likeable and a character you root for so it was very easy to look forward to more of him in the next book.  Far From True opens up with the a drive-in theater screen collapsing and killing four people.  Cal is hired by the daughter of one of the victims to look into a break-in at her late father’s place.  As he investigates Cal learns that this couple has a secret room for their sexual games and it appears that DVD discs are now missing.  What is on the DVD and why they were taken is Cal’s next steps.

Cal’s former co-worker, Detective Barry Duckworth, is looking into why this incident has happened but also investigating the case from the previous book, Broken Promises. He thinks that that case may be connected to another one three years ago…but is on his own in finding the truth.

We also have David Hardwood, who was the “main character” in Broken Promises returning in this novel as another major character.  He is now working as a campaign manager for Randall Finley, has his parents living with him and trying to win over Sam Worthington.  Cal is also trying to help Sam who is being threatened by her ex-boyfriend’s parents and want to kidnap her son. And, then we get a cliffhanger..

In this book we get Cal’s first person point of view instead of David’s but we do still get everyone else’s point of view in third person.  I don’t know why Derek is in the novel at all as his appearances do not help the story much.  I love the scenes between Cal and Crystal (the young daughter of Cal’s client).  I am very curious to see how Crystal and her mother fare in the story and what decisions Cal makes towards them.  With a cast of some very unlikable people – Clive, Liz and Randall are on my top 3 list.  I am hoping they keep getting the bad part of the karma stick. On the whole, the book had me engaged and I did not skim much in this book.  I am looking forward to the third book which is coming out in the late Fall and we will finally know what is behind the number 23. I will let you know then if sitting down with this very long series was worth the time!

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