The Accident by Linwood BarclayThe Accident by Linwood Barclay

The Accident

byLinwood Barclay

Paperback | August 9, 2011

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In this mesmerizing thriller by acclaimed author Linwood Barclay, a typical American community descends into darkness, as an ordinary man is swept into one of the most violent mysteries of modern life.
It’s the new normal at the Garber household in Connecticut: Glen, a contractor, has seen his business shaken by the housing crisis, and now his wife, Sheila, is taking a business course at night to increase her chances of landing a good-paying job.

But she should have been home by now.

Waiting for Sheila’s return, with their eight-year-old daughter sleeping soundly, Glen soon finds his worst fears confirmed: Sheila and two others have been killed in a car accident. Adding to the tragedy, the police claim Sheila was responsible.

Glen knows it’s impossible; he knew his wife and she would never do such a thing. When he investigates, Glen begins to uncover layers of lawlessness beneath the placid surface of their suburb, secret after dangerous secret behind the closed doors.

Propelled into a vortex of corruption and illegal activity, pursued by mysterious killers, and confronted by threats from neighbors he thought he knew, Glen must take his own desperate measures and go to terrifying new places in himself to avenge his wife and protect his child.

Bold and timely, with the shocking twists and startling insights that have become trademarks of this new master of domestic suspense, The Accident is a riveting triumph, a book that moves at a breathless pace to a climax no one will see coming.
Linwood Barclay is a former columnist for the Toronto Star. He is the #1 internationally bestselling author of eight critically acclaimed novels, including Never Look Away, Fear the Worst, Too Close to Home, and No Time for Goodbye, which has been optioned for film. He lives near Toronto with his wife and has two grown children. He is ...
Title:The AccidentFormat:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 9.18 × 6.12 × 1.09 inPublished:August 9, 2011Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385670583

ISBN - 13:9780385670586

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good story Good story - wasn't my favourite from Barclay - but definitely worth the read.
Date published: 2017-07-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from No and Yes very active book, at some points it was really hard to follow
Date published: 2017-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good book Suspenseful and couldn't put down....another great novel.
Date published: 2016-12-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A struggle to read Meh. I've really enjoyed other books by Barclay but this one was a struggle to read. It had a lot of twists but the story was very far-fetched. It was a quick easy read because I was hurrying to just finish it.
Date published: 2016-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Accident Loved this book Ir was firsr of hers i haVe read I was iN suspense throughout the book and hsted to put i down I was shocked At ending but so pleased since I was wrong from beginning as to who killed sheila.
Date published: 2015-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Accident by Lindwood Barclay I thought it was good and didn't expect what happened at the end. On with the next book.
Date published: 2014-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Accident Another great mystery!
Date published: 2014-04-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Accident Hard to get into at the beginning, but a quarter way in I was hooked.
Date published: 2014-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Accident Whenever I arrived at the end of a chapter I couldn't put the book down. I had to know what was going to happen in the next chapter. Very surprised by the ending. Just when you thought you had it figured out something would happen to change your mind.
Date published: 2014-03-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Average A good story about a few connected white middle class families struggling to adapt to modern economic situations.
Date published: 2013-12-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from The Accident One awful book. I would advise the author not to give up his day job.
Date published: 2013-12-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from My First Barclay, But Not My Last!! Really good book. And I can honestly say, I never saw it coming, and anyone who says they did is either a criminal or a liar. Looking forward to my next Barclay.
Date published: 2013-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellent thriller !! You can't be disappointed with this thriller. Linwood Barclay is a really good writer.
Date published: 2013-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent read -Never saw it coming! I found this book to be extremely well written, and the story compelling. I truly enjoyed it and looked forward to getting back to reading it each night. Some books just make you want to get lost in their world, and The Accident is definitely one of them.
Date published: 2013-09-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent read -Never saw it coming! Inyeresting read
Date published: 2013-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Accident Very good. Love his books.
Date published: 2013-07-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really enjoyed this When Glen's wife, Sheila, is killed in a car crash, and it seems to be her fault because she is drunk, something doesn't add up for Glen. He also has an 8-year old, Kelly, to take care of. I really enjoyed this. It pulled me in fairly quickly, and kept me interested in finding out what was going on. Actually a lot more was happening than the one storyline, so it was interesting to find out how it all connected.
Date published: 2013-06-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it First book I read by Linwood Barclay and definitely won't be my last!
Date published: 2013-04-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Accident An O.K. Read
Date published: 2013-02-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The Accident Disappointed. I really enjoyed his writing in The Toronto Star which was full of very clever wit. I was expecting the same here. Ths story was OK, but missed the mark with me. Good humour is harder to find than a good story. To be able to write it well is a gift Linwood Barclay has. Looking forward to reading some of that in the future.
Date published: 2013-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Barclay never disappoints me. Allot of bad things are going on in Glen's neighbourhood. People start dying mysteriously. Glen can't believe his wife's death is an Accident. In this book there is allot of shocking twist and turns. I was totally shocked at the outcome I had no idea. The Accident is a fast pace suspense mystery,very captivating.
Date published: 2012-01-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Good Mystery The Accident is surrounded by mystery. Unlike some books where the reader is aloud to see and hear things the main character can not, in The Accident the reader unravels the mystery at the same pace as Glen. At times this is good because you are confused with him as he tries to sort out the facts, at other times, mainly towards the beginning of the book, the lack of information makes it difficult to hold that much interest in the story. But once I got into it and was surrounded by all the characters and their many secrets, I was as determined as Glen to find out what happened. There were so many times when you think you have it figured out, and can't put the book down, only to be proven wrong with a new suspect to consider.
Date published: 2011-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can't put it down! People start dying mysteriously. Glen can’t believe his wife’s death was an accident. Then other people are dying from accidents. Kelly hears a cell phone conversation and gets herself into deep trouble. Will Glen solve the accidents before anyone else dies.
Date published: 2011-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another Two Thumbs Up for Barclay!! Fast paced suspense that will have you hanging on the edge of your seat! I’ve read every book Linwood Barclay has written and his suspense novels just keep getting better and better. Although this book was 367 pages long, I read it in one sitting I just couldn’t put it down. It sucked me right in from the beginning and a hold of me until I’d turned the last page. You will be so totally shocked at the outcome that you’ll be left breathless. There were so many twists, turns and surprises in this book that I just didn’t know what was coming next until it happened and then I’d suck in my breath, and say: “No way!!!” This was one of the best suspense novels I’ve read in a long time, you will not be disappointed. If I had more than two thumbs, this book would be getting them!
Date published: 2011-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Barclay delivers again! Comfy chair? Drinks? Snacks? Good lighting? Excellent! 'Cause you're not going to be getting up or stopping once you dive into Linwood Barclay's latest release - The Accident. The opening prologue - a violent crime with a distinctly different setting caught my interest. But the foreshadowing in the first paragraph in chapter one clinched it: "If I'd known this was our last morning, I'd have rolled over in bed and held her. But of course, if it had been possible to know something like that - if I could have somehow seen into the future - I wouldn't have let go. And then things would have been different." Glen Carver inherited his building business from his father. He's a straight shooter and does right by his customers, staff and his wife Sheila and eight year old daughter Kelly. Times are tough all over - the economy still hasn't fully recovered - the Carvers have money troubles like everyone else. And then the unthinkable happens - Sheila is killed in an accident that also kills a father and son. The cops say Sheila was drunk and was at fault. But Glen knows that Sheila didn't drink to excess...or did she and he just never knew? As Glen struggles to deal with his wife's death and looking after Kelly, more seeming unrelated incidents transpire. A web is being woven around Glen, but he can't see it. We can though. I just wanted to shout at Glen - NO! Look out! Ask them why....! When he finally twigs that there is something really wrong going on with his friends and family, it's almost too late... Barclay's characters are almost anti-heroes; everyday men thrust into situations completely outside the scope of their everyday lives with the need to protect their families. It makes them all the more believable and likable. Adding more reality to the story is the economic thread of the story - foreclosures, lay-offs, downsizing and desperately trying to make ends meet. Barclay has the suspense/thriller genre in a choke hold with no signs of letting go (thank goodness!) Like Harlan Coben? You're going to love Linwood Barclay!
Date published: 2011-08-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another excellent thriller These past couple of months have proven that I have a problem with mysteries and thrillers. I just can't stop. Once you've read one you're on a road to hell, no kidding. It's a spiraling addiction that will end in my owning a forever growing number of mystery/thriller novels. Linwood Barclay, that name stuck out like a sore thumb at it's mention. Admittedly I have never read any of his previous works but had certainly wanted to. Walking past those copies of suspense goodness each day (at work). It arrived and I nearly died with excitement and immediately dove into it. I found myself enjoying Glen's perspective, heart break and determination. He was definitively a strong character with a vibrant personality that had me wanting to read more. What I enjoyed more than Glen character and Linwood's mystery were the secrets that surfaced every now and then. They were unpredictable, unexpected and helped create a bigger picture while at the same time creating more of struggle for Glen in his search for truth. All is not as it seems in The Accident and for that I am thankful to Linwood Barclay for the adventure. Mystery lovers will find themselves engaged and entranced. I think it's fair to say that I loved The Accident. In fact, you'd have to pry my copy from my dead cold hands. There's no way I'm ever letting it go. Using cupcakes to bribe me will not work, I'm prepared with a lifetime supply. *pulls out her stash*
Date published: 2011-08-08

Read from the Book

If I’d known this was our last morning, I’d have rolled over in bed and held her. But of course, if it had been possible to know something like that—if I could have somehow seen into the future—I wouldn’t have let go. And then things would have been different. I’d been staring at the ceiling for a while when I finally threw back the covers and planted my feet on the hardwood floor. “How’d you sleep?” Sheila asked as I rubbed my eyes. She reached out and touched my back. “Not so good. You?” “Off and on.” “I sensed you were awake, but I didn’t want to bug you, on the off chance you were sleeping,” I said, glancing over my shoulder. The sun’s first rays of the day filtered through the drapes and played across my wife’s face as she lay in bed, looking at me. This wasn’t a time of day when people looked their best, but there was something about Sheila. She was always beautiful. Even when she looked worried, which was how she looked now. I turned back around, looked down at my bare feet. “I couldn’t get to sleep for the longest time, then I think I finally nodded off around two, but then I looked at the clock and it was five. Been awake since then.” “Glen, it’s going to be okay,” Sheila said. She moved her hand across my back, soothing me.  “Yeah, well, I’m glad you think so.” “Things’ll pick up. Everything goes in cycles. Recessions don’t last forever.” I sighed. “This one sure seems to. After these jobs I’m doing now, we got nothin’ lined up. Some nibbles, did a couple of estimates last week— one for a kitchen, one to finish off a basement—but they haven’t called back.” I stood up, turned and said, “What’s your excuse for staring at the ceiling all night?” “Worried about you. And . . . I’ve got things on my mind, too.” “What?” “Nothing,” she said quickly. “I mean, just the usual. This course I’m taking, Kelly, your work.” “What’s wrong with Kelly?” “Nothing’s wrong with her. I’m a mother. She’s eight. I worry. It’s what I do. When I’ve done the course, I can help you more. That’ll make a difference.” “When you made the decision to take it, we had the business to justify it. Now, I don’t know if I’ll even have any work for you to do,” I said. “I just hope I have enough to keep Sally busy.” Sheila’d started her business accounting course mid- August, and two months in was enjoying it more than she’d expected. The plan was for Sheila to do the day- to- day accounts for Garber Contracting, the company that was once my father’s, and which I now ran. She could even do it from home, which would allow Sally Diehl, our “office girl,” to focus more on general office management, returning phone calls, hounding suppliers, fielding customer inquiries. There usually wasn’t time for Sally to do the accounting, which meant I was bringing it home at night, sitting at my desk until midnight. But with work drying up, I didn’t know how this was all going to shake down. “And now, with the fire—” “Enough,” Sheila said. “Sheila, one of my goddamn houses burned down. Please don’t tell me everything’s going to be fine.” She sat up in bed and crossed her arms across her breasts. “I’m not going to let you get all negative on me. This is what you do.” “I’m just telling you how it is.”  “And I’m going to tell you how it will be,” she said. “We will be okay. Because this is what we do. You and I. We get through things. We find a way.” She looked away for a moment, like there was something she wanted to say but wasn’t sure how to say it. Finally, she said, “I have ideas.” “What ideas?” “Ideas to help us. To get us through the rough patches.” I stood there, my arms open, waiting. “You’re so busy, so wrapped up in your own problems—and I’m not saying that they aren’t big problems—that you haven’t even noticed.” “Noticed what?” I asked. She shook her head and smiled. “I got Kelly new outfits for school.” “Okay.” “Nice ones.” I narrowed my eyes. “What are you getting at?” “I’ve made some money.” I thought I already knew that. Sheila had her part- time job at Hardware Depot—about twenty hours a week—working the checkout. They’d recently installed these new self- checkout stations people couldn’t figure out, so there was still work there for Sheila until they did. And since the early summer, Sheila had been helping our next- door neighbor—Joan Mueller—with her own books for a business she was running from her home. Joan’s husband, Ely, had been killed on that oil rig off the coast of Newfoundland when it blew up about a year back. She’d been getting jerked around by the oil company on her settlement, and in the meantime had started running a daycare operation. Every morning four or five preschoolers got dropped off at her door. And on school days when Sheila was working, Kelly went to Joan’s until one of us got home. Sheila had helped Joan organize a bookkeeping system to keep track of what everyone owed and had paid. Joan loved kids, but could barely finger count. “I know you’ve been making some money,” I said. “Joan, and the store. Everything helps.” “Those two jobs together don’t keep us in Hamburger Helper. I’m talking about better money than that.” My eyebrows went up. Then I got worried. “Tell me you’re not taking money from Fiona.” Her mother. “You know how I feel about that.” She looked insulted. “Jesus, Glen, you know I would never—”  “I’m just saying. I’d rather you were a drug dealer than taking money from your mother.” She blinked, threw back the covers abruptly, got out of bed, and stalked into the bathroom. The door closed firmly behind her. “Aw, come on,” I said. By the time we reached the kitchen, I didn’t think she was angry with me anymore. I’d apologized twice, and tried to coax from Sheila details of what her idea was to bring more money into the house. “We can talk about it tonight,” she said. We hadn’t washed the dishes from the night before. There were a couple of coffee cups, my scotch glass, and Sheila’s wine goblet, with a dark red residue at the bottom, sitting in the sink. I lifted the goblet onto the counter, worried the stem might break if other things got tossed into the sink alongside it. The wineglass made me think of Sheila’s friends. “You seeing Ann for lunch or anything?” I asked. “No.” “I thought you had something set up.” “Maybe later this week. Belinda and Ann and me might get together, although every time we do that I have to get a cab home and my head hurts for a week. Anyway, I think Ann’s got some physical or something today, an insurance thing.” “She okay?” “She’s fine.” A pause. “More or less.” “What’s that mean?” “I don’t know. I think there’s some kind of tension there, between her and Darren. And between Belinda and George, for that matter.” “What’s going on?” “Who knows,” she said. “So then, what are you doing today? You don’t have a shift today, right? If I can slip away, you want to get lunch? I was thinking something fancy, like that guy who sells hot dogs by the park.” “I’ve got my course tonight,” she said. “Some errands to run, and I might visit Mom.” She shot me a look. “Not to ask her for money.” “Okay.” I decided to ask nothing further. She’d tell me when she was ready. Kelly walked into the room at the tail end of the conversation. “What’s for breakfast?” “You want cereal, cereal, or cereal?” Sheila asked. Kelly appeared to ponder her choices. “I’ll take cereal,” she said, andsat at the table. At our house, breakfast wasn’t a sit- down family meal like dinner. Actually, dinner often wasn’t, either, especially when I got held up at a construction site, or Sheila was at work, or heading off to her class. But we at least tried to make that a family event. Breakfast was a lost cause, however. I had my toast and coffee standing, usually flattening the morning Register on the countertop and scanning the headlines as I turned the pages. Sheila was spooning in fruit and yogurt at the same time as Kelly shoveled in her Cheerios, trying to get them into herself before any of them had a chance to get soggy. Between spoonfuls she asked, “Why would anyone go to school at night when they’re grown up and don’t have to go?” “When I finish this course,” Sheila told her, “I’ll be able to help your father more, and that helps the family, and that helps you.” “How does that help me?” she wanted to know. I stepped in. “Because if my company is run well, it makes more money, and that helps you.” “So you can buy me more stuff ?” “Not necessarily.” Kelly took a gulp of orange juice. “I’d never go to school at night. Or summer. You’d have to kill me to get me to go to summer school.” “If you get really good marks, that won’t happen,” I said, a hint of warning in my voice. We’d already had a call from her teacher that she wasn’t completing all her homework. Kelly had nothing to say to that and concentrated on her cereal. On the way out the door, she gave her mother a hug, but all I got was a wave. Sheila caught me noticing the perceived slight and said, “It’s because you’re a meanie.” I called the house from work mid- morning. “Hey,” Sheila said. “You’re home. I didn’t know whether I’d catch you or not.” “Still here. What’s up?”  “Sally’s dad.” “What?” “She was calling home from the office and when he didn’t answer she took off. I just called to see how he was and he’s gone.” “He’s dead?” “Yeah.” “Oh jeez. How old was he?” “Seventy- nine, I think. He was in his late fifties when he had Sally.” Sheila knew the history. The man had married a woman twenty years younger than he was, and still managed to outlive her. She’d died of an aneurysm a decade ago. “What happened to him?” “Don’t know. I mean, he had diabetes, he’d been having heart trouble. Could have been a heart attack.” “We need to do something for her.” “I offered to drop by but she said she’s got a lot to deal with right now. Funeral’ll probably be in a couple of days. We can talk about it when you get back from Bridgeport.” Where Sheila took her class. “We’ll do something. We’ve always been there for her.” I could almost picture Sheila shaking her head. “Look,” she said, “I’m heading out. I’ll leave you and Kelly lasagna, okay? Joan’s expecting her after school today and—” “I got it. Thanks.” “For what?” “Not giving up. Not letting things get you down.” “Just doing the best I can,” she said. “I love you. I know I can be a pain in the ass, but I love you.” “Ditto.” It was after ten. Sheila should have been home by now. I tried her cell for the second time in ten minutes. After six rings it went to voicemail. “Hi. This is Sheila. I’m either on the phone, away from it, or too scared to answer because I’m in traffic, so please leave a message.” Then the beep. “Hey, me again,” I said. “You’re freaking me out. Call me.” I put the cordless receiver back onto its stand and leaned up against the kitchen counter, folded my arms. As she’d promised, Sheila had left two servings of lasagna in the fridge, for Kelly and me, each hermetically sealed under plastic wrap. I’d heated Kelly’s in the microwave when we got home, and she’d come back looking for seconds, but I couldn’t find a baking dish with any more in it. I might as well have offered her mine, which a few hours later still sat on the counter. I wasn’t hungry. I was rattled. Running out of work. The fire. Sally’s dad. And even if I’d managed to recover my appetite late in the evening, the fact that Sheila still wasn’t home had put me on edge. Her class, which was held at the Bridgeport Business College, had ended more than an hour and a half ago, and it was only a thirty- minute drive home. Which made her an hour late. Not that long, really. There were any number of explanations. She could have stayed after class to have a coffee with someone. That had happened a couple of times. Maybe the traffic was bad on the turnpike. All you needed was someone with a flat tire on the shoulder to slow everything down. An accident would stop everything dead. That didn’t explain her not answering her cell, though. She’d been known to forget to turn it back on after class was over, but when that happened it went to voicemail right away. But the phone was ringing. Maybe it was tucked so far down in her purse she couldn’t hear it. I wondered whether she’d decided to go to Darien to see her mother and not made it back out to Bridgeport in time for her class. Reluctantly, I made the call. “Hello?” “Fiona, it’s Glen.” In the background, I heard someone whisper, “Who is it, love?” Fiona’s husband, Marcus. Technically speaking, Sheila’s stepfather, but Fiona had remarried long after Sheila had left home and settled into a life with me. “Yes?” she said. I told her Sheila was late getting back from Bridgeport, and I wondered if maybe her daughter had gotten held up at her place. “Sheila didn’t come see me today,” Fiona said. “I certainly wasn’t expecting her. She never said anything about coming over.” That struck me as odd. When Sheila mentioned maybe going to see Fiona, I’d figured she’d already bounced the idea off her.  “Is there a problem, Glen?” Fiona asked icily. There wasn’t worry in her voice so much as suspicion. As if Sheila’s staying out late had more to do with me than it did with her. “No, everything’s fine,” I said. “Go back to bed.” I heard soft steps coming down from the second floor. Kelly, not yet in her pajamas, wandered into the kitchen. She looked at the still- wrapped lasagna on the counter and asked, “Aren’t you going to eat that?” “Hands off,” I said, thinking maybe I’d get my appetite back once Sheila was home. I glanced at the wall clock. Quarter past ten. “Why aren’t you in bed?” “Because you haven’t told me to go yet,” she said. “What have you been doing?” “Computer.”“Go to bed,” I said. “It was homework,” she said. “Look at me.” “In the beginning it was,” she said defensively. “And when I got it done, I was talking to my friends.” She stuck out her lower lip and blew away some blonde curls that were falling over her eyes. “Why isn’t Mom home?” “Her thing must have run late,” I said. “I’ll send her up to give you a kiss when she gets home.” “If I’m asleep, how will I know if I get it?” “She’ll tell you in the morning.” Kelly eyed me with suspicion. “So I might never get a kiss, but you guys would say I did.” “You figured it out,” I said. “It’s a scam we’ve been running.” “Whatever.” She turned, shuffled out of the kitchen, and padded back upstairs. I picked up the receiver and tried Sheila’s cell again. When her greeting cut in, I muttered “Shit” before it started recording and hit the off button.

Editorial Reviews

 “Barclay tells a fine tale. . . . Just when you think you’ve figured it out, well, you haven’t.  Right to the end, there are twists and turns in the plot, and people who you thought were squeaky clean? Not so much.” —The Gazette (Montreal)“Barclay has turned in a home run with plenty of edge-of-the-seat moments.” —Kirkus Reviews“Linwood Barclay excels at genuinely scary, tension-filled tales of ordinary folk in seemingly normal and peaceful small-town America, and this latest chiller is well up to the mark.” —The Independent (UK)“Linwood Barclay's best thriller to date. . . . Barclay channels the best of Harlan Coben and Lisa Gardner.” —San Francisco Chronicle“Barclay is amazing at putting average people in extraordinary situations.” —Paris StarPRAISE FOR LINWOOD BARCLAY “If you like Harlan Coben, you’ll love Linwood Barclay.”—Peter Robinson, author of Bad Boy Never Look Away “The writing is crisp; the twists are jolting and completely unexpected.”—Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly “Fast-paced and with an irresistible blend of suspense and tension.”—Tucson Citizen Fear the Worst “Gripping . . . unfolds with mounting tension and suspense.”—The Wall Street Journal “Fear the Worst holds the reader in a tight grip, as good and evil match wits and wiles. Barclay pushes the envelope of suspense to the edge and beyond.”—Steve Berry, author of The Jefferson Key Too Close to Home “A terrifically fast-paced suspense story.”—The Washington Post “Affecting and effective.”—The Wall Street Journal No Time for Goodbye “You won’t get up until you’ve turned the last page.”—Michael Connelly “[An] anxiety-inducing thriller.”—USA Today