Too Close To Home: A Thriller by Linwood BarclayToo Close To Home: A Thriller by Linwood Barclay

Too Close To Home: A Thriller

byLinwood Barclay

Mass Market Paperback | July 28, 2009

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Critically acclaimed and bestselling author Linwood Barclay brings terror closer than ever before in a stunning thriller in which murder strikes in the place we should feel safest of all….

In a quiet neighborhood, in the house next door, a family is brutally murdered for no apparent reason. You can’t help thinking, It could have been us. And you start to wonder: What if we’re next?

Promise Falls isn’t the kind of community where families are shot to death in their own homes. But how well did Jim and Ellen Cutter really know their neighbors—or the darker secrets of their small town? They don’t have to look further than their own marriage to know that things aren’t always what they seem. Now the Cutters and their son, Derek, must face the unthinkable: that a murderer isn’t just stalking too close to home…but is inside it already.
Linwood Barclay is a columnist for the Toronto Star. He is the author of several critically acclaimed novels, including No Time for Goodbye and Stone Rain. He lives near Toronto with his wife and has two grown children.From the Hardcover edition.
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Title:Too Close To Home: A ThrillerFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:512 pages, 6.9 × 4.2 × 1.1 inPublished:July 28, 2009Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:055359043X

ISBN - 13:9780553590432

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Customer Reviews of Too Close To Home: A Thriller

Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Decent mystery This was my first Linwood Barclay novel, and certainly one that came with high expectations from people who had read it previously. It didn't blow me away as there wasn't any major surprises in the plot; even the biggest surprise didn't catch me off guard as I had it figured out around page 300 of this 500 page novel. I did love to hate mayor Randall Finley who was the stereotypical "ass", and whose actions play a pivotal role in what happens to the protagonist, Jim Cutter, and his family. But Cutter himself was an odd mix of heroic everyman to whipped husband which I felt didn't work. I will certainly entertain the idea of reading another Barclay piece, but it may be awhile before that happens as "Too Close to Home" is the only one of his novels I currently own.
Date published: 2017-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from exactly what you would have as a nightmare this book is, or you would think only a nightmare or horror movies, but actually this is happening in our day to day lives, but people wake up it is happening
Date published: 2017-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Loved it. Full of suspense.
Date published: 2016-12-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Too Close To Home This was another novel filled with suspense and enough twists to keep you guessing. Can always count on Linwood Barclay to spin a story that keeps you turning pages as fast as you can read to find out who and why.
Date published: 2016-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Linwood Barclay keeps you guessing the whole way through
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Linwood Barclay keeps you guessing the whole way through amazing book.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Page Turner Well written could not put it down Linwood always deliver without disappointment
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thrilling masterpiece! Linwood Barclay captures your attention and keeps you enthralled with all the twists and turns until the very end! Love reading his books!
Date published: 2015-05-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Too close to home Page turner that keeps twisting till the end. Well written to keep you second guessing and wo deri g how tbe characters connect
Date published: 2015-04-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Too close to home Another excellent read from Linwood Barclay? Hard to put book down.Another surprising ending which was not anticipated
Date published: 2014-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Book This is my first Linwood Barclay book, on the recommendation of Stephen King. Definitely going to read more. Loved the twists. I didn't want to put it down. Loved it.
Date published: 2014-08-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One of my favorite authors. He has a new book coming out in August. I have it on order
Date published: 2014-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nail biter! This book is a real nail biter and I didn't want to ever out it down. Fantastic, heart stopping and amazing writing!!!
Date published: 2014-03-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from So-so mystery thriller This was my first Linwood Barclay novel, and certainly one that came with high expectations from people who had read it previously. It didn't blow me away as there wasn't any major surprises in the plot; even the biggest surprise didn't catch me off guard as I had it figured out around page 300 of this 500 page novel. I did love to hate mayor Randall Finley who was the stereotypical "ass", and whose actions play a pivotal role in what happens to the protagonist, Jim Cutter, and his family. But Cutter himself was an odd mix of heroic everyman to whipped husband which I felt didn't work. I will certainly entertain the idea of reading another Barclay piece, but it may be awhile before that happens as "Too Close to Home" is the only one of his novels I currently own.
Date published: 2013-04-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really good, and fast to read 4.25 stars 17-year old Derek decides that his friend/neighbour's (Adam's) house would be a good place to use to make out with his girlfriend while Adam and his family are away. Derek is hiding in their basement after they leave, but they unexpectedly return, only to be shot and killed, while Derek is still hiding. After the first chapter, the book is actually told from Derek's father's (Jim's) point of view. I really liked this one, but for some reason, for me, it seemed to “slow” a little bit as the book went on. I don't know why that is. It didn't get slow in comparison to a lot of books, just in comparison to how it started for me. It was still really good, overall, and because I liked it so much at the start, it is still getting a high rating from me. I did manage to figure a couple of things out (well, I guessed), though. It was very fast to read.
Date published: 2012-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from STAYED UP ALL NIGHT!! Story Description: Critically acclaimed and bestselling author Linwood Barclay brings terror closer than ever before in a stunning thriller in which murder strikes in the place we should feel safest of all…. In a quiet neighbourhood, in the house next door, a family is brutally murdered for no apparent reason. You can't help thinking, It could have been us. And you start to wonder: What if we're next? Promise Falls isn't the kind of community where families are shot to death in their own homes. But how well did Jim and Ellen Cutter really know their neighbours-or the darker secrets of their small town? They don't have to look further than their own marriage to know that things aren't always what they seem. Now the Cutters and their son, Derek, must face the unthinkable: that a murderer isn't just stalking too close to home…but is inside it already. My Review: As the Langley family was busy packing up the car for a trip, seventeen-year-old Derek Cutter snuck into the crawlspace when the family thought he’d left. Albert and Donna Langley had a son, Adam, who has been friends with Derek since childhood. The only person who knew Derek had hidden in the Langley’s crawlspace was, Penny Tucker, Derek’s girlfriend. The two teenagers planned to use the Langley home as a sex get-away for the week. Derek was so excited to have the Langley’s home all to himself for an entire week. He could go home at night after Penny left and return during the day anytime he wanted. He not only looked forward to the uninterrupted sex with Penny, but also talking to her for long stretches of time without anyone telling him what to do. While waiting for Penny to come over, he took a walk through the Langley home. After seeing the huge bathtub in Albert and Donna’s bedroom, he wondered if Penny would consent to taking a relaxing bath with him, “bubbles” and all! Derek left the bedroom and went back down to the basement to watch some t.v. while waiting. After watching a show, playing a video game, and taking a short nap, his cell phone rang. It was Penny and she wasn’t coming over after all. She’d been grounded by her Dad for putting a dent in the family car and hoped she could somehow make it over the following day or later in the week. Derek was totally disappointed and decided he might as well leave and go home for the night. He turned off the television then heard a noise that sounded like tires on gravel. Peeking through the window he sees that the Langley family has returned, but can’t run up the stairs, disengage the security alarm, then get back down to the basement to crawl through the window. He heard the front door open, a conversation taking place between Albert and Donna, and discovered they’d returned home because Donna was sick. Just then the basement light clicked on, Derek barely made it back into the crawlspace before his best friend, Adam, reached the bottom of the stairs to return the ice packs from their cooler to the downstairs freezer. No big deal, Derek thought, he’d just wait until the family of three went to bed. Once everyone was asleep for the night, he’d sneak upstairs, turn off the security alarm and beat it out the back door. Suddenly, Derek heard Mr. Langley say: “Who the hell is that?” Derek thought he was talking to him until he heard car tires in the gravel outside and thought it was company dropping in on the Langley’s. He heard the front door open, heard snippets of conversation and then…? Sorry, this is where my review ends. This book is much too good to reveal anything else. I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat AND stayed up all night to finish it!! This is one of the best thrillers I’ve read in a long time. Linwood Barclay’s writing incites terror in the reader and you feel as though you are transported into the story. There are many characters in this novel and each one is so well developed, you understand their personalities well. If you’re looking for a great thriller, then this is the one to read. However, don’t make the same mistake I did and begin the novel before bedtime as you’ll end up staying awake all night!!
Date published: 2012-02-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from decent thriller Linwood Barclay has been compared to Harlan Coben. I’ve only read a couple Coben novels and they were okay. Too Close to Home is okay, too. But just okay. Jim Cutter used to drive the mayor of Promise Falls around. The mayor’s a bit of an ass and Jim’s just not the kind of guy to put up with his shenanigans. Now he owns a lawn care company, but the book makes it clear that Jim’s way too smart for the job. His wife, Ellen, organizes a big literary festival for the local college, the president of which is a literary phenom- except for the youth part and the fact that he’s only written one book. Jim and Ellen have a teenage son, Derek. The action of Barclay’s novel starts straight away. There’s no simple way to explain it: Derek is hiding at the next door neighbour’s house when they’re all shot and killed. Instead of fessing up to being an almost-witness, he acts like he was somewhere else. Jim tries to figure out why anyone would kill the Langleys, but then comes to realize that perhaps the Langleys weren’t the intended target after all. It’s a convoluted plot, people. Maybe consumers of this type of story like it that way and despite the fact that Barclay’s ducks do end up in a row by the conclusion, it all seemed – well - a little silly to me. I did like Jim Cutter, though. He isn’t perfect, that’s for sure, but he isn’t a pushover either. He is smart and tenacious and often quite funny – especially in his dealing with the smarmy mayor. I’m not a literary snob. I like a rollicking good suspense thriller as much as the next guy who likes suspense thrillers…but Too Close to Home just didn’t quite do it for me. I have another Barclay novel on my tbr list and I’ll certainly get to it at some point…but I’m not in any hurry.
Date published: 2011-11-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Start, Okay Ending This is my second book by Barclay and like the first (No Time for Goodbye), the beginning was amazing. Gripped you right from the beginning and got you thinking with all the twists. When it nears the end however, the story gets a little unconvincing. Particularly in Too Close to Home, I found the ending to be a little flat, I just wasn't convinced by the story. Overall a fun read though!
Date published: 2010-04-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED THIS BOOK This was the first book I read by Barclay and it was sooo good, I went out and bought all his other books and have been reading his books since. This book will keep you up late at night reading for sure!!
Date published: 2009-10-05

Read from the Book

Chapter OneThe night they killed our neighbors, the Langleys, we never heard a thing.It was warm and humid that evening, so we'd closed all the windows and had the air conditioner cranked up as high as it would go. Even at that, we couldn't get the temperature in the house much below 76. This was late July, and we'd been suffering through a heat wave the last week, the thermometer hitting mid-90s pretty much every day, except for Wednesday, when it hit 100. Even some rain early in the week had failed to break it. It wasn't getting much below the mid-80s even after the sun went down.Normally, it being a Friday night, I might have stayed up a little later, even have been up when it happened, but I had to work Saturday. That rain had set me back with all the customers I do yard work for. So Ellen and I had packed it in pretty early, nine-thirty or so. Even if we'd been up, we'd probably have been watching TV, so it's pretty unlikely we'd have heard anything.It's not like the Langleys' place is right next door. It's the first house in off the highway along our shared driveway. Once you pass their place, it's still another fifty or sixty yards or so before you get to our house. You can't see our place from the highway. Homes out here on the outskirts of Promise Falls in upstate New York have some space between them. You can see the Langleys' house up the lane, through the trees, but we never heard their parties, and if the racket I make tuning up lawn mowers ever bothered them, they never said anything about it.I was up around six-thirty Saturday morning. Ellen, who didn't have to go into her job up at the college, stirred as I moved into a sitting position on the side of the bed."Sleep in," I said. "You don't have to get up." I stood up, wandered down to the foot of the bed, saw that the book Ellen had been reading before she'd turned out the light had fallen to the floor. It was just one of a stack of books on her bedside table. You have to do a lot of reading when you organize a college literary festival."It's okay," she mumbled resignedly, turning her face into the pillow and pulling the covers tighter. "I'll put some coffee on. You're just going to wake me up getting dressed anyway.""Well," I said, "if you're already getting up, some eggs would be nice." Ellen said something into the pillow I couldn't hear, but it didn't sound friendly. I continued, "If I heard you correctly, that it's no trouble, does that mean you could fry up some bacon, too?"She turned her head. "Is there a union for slaves? I want to sign up."I got up and walked to the window, flipped open the blinds to let the early morning sun in."Oh God, make it go away," Ellen said. "Jesus, Jim, shut those.""Looks like another hot one," I said, leaving the blinds open. "I was kind of hoping it might rain, then I'd have an excuse not to work today.""Would it kill those people if their grass missed getting cut one week?" Ellen asked."They pay for a weekly service, hon," I said. "I'd rather work a Saturday than have to give them refunds."Ellen had no comeback for that. We weren't quite living hand-to-mouth, but neither were we willing to throw money away. And a lawn service, especially in this part of the country, was definitely a seasonal business. You made your living from spring to fall, unless you diversified by putting a blade on the front of your pickup and clearing driveways in the winter. I'd been hunting for a used blade. The winters around here could be fierce. Couple of years back, over in Oswego, they had snow up to the first-floor roofs.I'd only been running a lawn service for a couple of summers now, and I needed to find ways to make more money. It wasn't exactly my dream job, and it certainly wasn't what I wanted for myself when I was a young guy starting out, but it beat what I'd most recently left behind.Ellen took a breath, let out a long sigh, and threw back the covers. She reached, reflexively, as she did occasionally, for where her pack of smokes used to be on the bedside table, but she'd quit the habit years ago, and there was nothing there. "Breakfast is coming, Your Majesty," she said. She reached down for the book on the floor and said, "I can't believe this was a bestseller. Hard to believe a novel about wheat isn't gripping. There's a reason they set a lot of books in cities, you know. There are people there. Characters."I took a couple of steps toward the bathroom, winced, put my hand on my lower back."You okay?" Ellen asked."Yeah, I'm fine. I did something to myself yesterday, I was holding the weed whacker and turned funny or something.""You're an old man in a young man's game, Jim," Ellen said, putting on her slippers and throwing on a housecoat. "Thanks for reminding me," I said."I don't have to remind you. You've got your aching back for that." She shuffled out of the bedroom as I went into the bathroom to shave.I took a look at myself in the mirror. I had some sunburn on my whiskered face. I'd been trying to remember to use sunscreen, wear a hat with a visor, but the day before, it got so hot I threw the hat in the truck at one point, and must have sweated the sunscreen clean off. I still didn't look too bad for forty-two, and as tired as I felt, I was probably in better shape than two years ago, when I spent most of my day sitting in an air-conditioned Grand Marquis, driving around Promise Falls, opening doors for an asshole, being a glorified gofer without an ounce of self-respect. Since then, I'd lost thirty pounds, I was gaining back upper-body strength I'd lost over the last decade, and I'd never slept better in my entire life. Coming home every night dead tired had a lot to do with that. Getting up in the morning, though, that could be a challenge. Like today.By the time I came downstairs to the kitchen, the smell of bacon was wafting through the house and Ellen was pouring two cups of coffee. The Saturday edition of the Promise Falls Standard was on the kitchen table, rubber band already removed, so I could see the main headline."Your old friend's at it again," Ellen said, cracking some eggs into a bowl.The headline read, "Mayor Rants at Single Moms' Home." And a drop headline, "Vows next time to 'bring cookies, not toss them.'""Oh Jesus," I said. "The guy never stops." I picked up the paper, read the first few paragraphs. Promise Falls's mayor, Randall Finley, had burst in unannounced Thursday night at a city-funded home where unwed moms can find support as they adjust to lives with newborns but no husbands. It was something the previous mayor fought for and got, and which Finley had always seen as a waste of taxpayer money. Although to be fair, Finley viewed almost everything as a waste of taxpayer money, except for his car and driver. And that was pretty much a necessity, given his talent for drinking to excess, and a DUI conviction a few years back. Finley, the story suggested, had been touring around the city, dropping into a couple of bars after a city council meeting, and while passing the home ordered his driver—I was guessing that would be Lance Garrick, but the story didn't actually say—to stop. Finley walked up to the door and kept banging on it until the home supervisor, Gillian Metcalfe, opened up. She attempted to keep him out but the mayor forced his way in and started shouting, "Maybe if you girls had exercised a little restraint, you wouldn't be in the mess you are now!" And then, according to reports from the young women living at the home, he threw up in the front hall."Even for Finley," I said to Ellen, "that's pretty impressive.""You're feeling nostalgic," Ellen said. "You think he'd take you back?"I was too tired to fire something back at her. I took a sip of my coffee and read further into the story. When reports began to circulate Friday morning about the mayor's behavior, he at first denied everything. It wasn't clear whether he was lying, or simply didn't remember. But by the afternoon, when presented with all the evidence against him, including the vomit-splattered front hall carpet runner that Gillian Metcalfe had taken down to city hall and left on the front steps, the mayor decided to revise his statement."I deeply regret," he said in a written release, not eager to face any media representatives in person, "my behavior last night at the Swanson House." It was named in honor of Helen Swanson, a late city councillor who had championed feminist causes. "I had had a particularly stressful session of council and may have had more refreshments afterwards than was prudent. I remain a strong supporter of Swanson House and offer my sincerest apologies. Next time I would hope to bring cookies rather than toss them.""Pure Randy," I said. "Close with a joke. At least he didn't stick with trying to pretend it didn't happen. Must have been too many witnesses."Ellen had three plates out, put three bacon strips and two fried eggs and a couple slices of toast on two of them, and brought them over to the kitchen table. I sat down and shoved some bacon into my mouth. It was salty and greasy and wonderfully delicious. "Mmmm," I said."This is why you keep me, isn't it?" she said. "For the breakfasts.""Dinners are good, too," I said.She reached over the paper, pulled out the lifestyles section. I took a sip of coffee, forkful of egg, bite of bacon, bite of toast. I had a good system going."You going to have to do a full day?" Ellen asked."I think we can be done a little after noon. The rain delayed everybody a day, but by the end of yesterday we were starting to catch up." We usually did seven to eight properties between eight in the morning and five in the afternoon and squeezed in the odd landscaping job when one came along. Ellen made more than I did with her job at the college, but we wouldn't have gotten by without my business. "Why?" I asked. "You got something in mind?"Ellen shrugged. "I saw you the other day, looking at your paintings." There were a number of canvases, in various stages of completion, leaned up against the wall in the shed, gathering dust. When I didn't say anything, she added, "I wondered if you were thinking of getting back into it."I shook my head. "Ancient history," I said. "I was just deciding whether to throw them into the truck and take them to the dump."Ellen frowned. "Stop it," she said.I used the last of my toast to mop up some egg yolk, popped it into my mouth, and dabbed at the corners of my mouth with a napkin. "Thanks, hon," I said, kissing the top of her head as I got up. "What are you going to do today?""Read," she said tiredly. "It's not like I have to read every writer who comes to the festival, but I at least need to know a bit about their work. You run into them at the cocktail parties, you have to be able to bluff your way through. Writers, honestly, a lot of them are really nice, but God they're needy. They need constant validation.""No sign of my associate yet?" I asked as I took my plate to the sink."I think you'll have to wake him," Ellen said. "I thought the smell of bacon would do it. Tell him I saved him some and can do a couple eggs fast."I went upstairs and stopped outside the door to my son's room. I rapped lightly on the closed door, then opened it about a foot, enough to see that he was under the covers, turned away from the door. "Hey, Derek, wakey wakey, man," I said."I'm awake," Derek said.Chapter TwoDerek kept facing the wall. "I don't think I can go today," he said. "I think I'm sick."I opened the door wide and stepped into his room. It looked as it always did, as though a bomb had gone off. Heaps of clothes on the floor, half a dozen different pairs of sneakers, none matched up, scattered hither and yon, countless empty software and game boxes, a desk along one wall with not one but three computer monitors, two keypads, half a dozen different computer towers underneath, wires—connected and disconnected—all over the place. He was going to set the house on fire one day."What's wrong?" I said. Derek was legendary for feigning illness to get out of school, but he was less likely to pull that kind of stunt working for his father."I just feel off," he said.Ellen passed by the door, heard a snippet of conversation, came in. "What's up?""Says he's sick," I said.She moved past me, sat on the edge of Derek's bed, and tried to get her hand on his forehead, but he turned away so she couldn't get near him."Come on," she said. "Let me see if you've got a fever.""I don't have a fever," he said, his face still hidden. "Can't I just feel out of it one day? And besides, it's fucking Saturday.""And you got last Monday and half of Tuesday off because of rain," I reminded him. "Win some, lose some. We should be done by noon. We've just got the Simpsons, the Westlake place, and what's-her-name, the one with the cat that looks like a furry pig, who gave you the computer."Here's the thing about Derek. He's a good kid, and I love him more than I can say, but sometimes he can be a royal pain in the ass. Finding creative ways to get out of his obligations is one of his talents. He hates school, and he hasn't always made the best choices. A few that immediately come to mind: a couple of years back, he and his pal Adam were setting off firecrackers in the dry grass behind the house. It hadn't rained in a month and one spark could have started a fire that would have burned our place down. I nearly wrung his neck. There was the time he went joyriding with a fifteen-year-old buddy who took out his father's MG—without permission and without a driver's license—and wrapped it around a tree. Thank God no one was hurt, except for the MG, of course. And there was the time he and another friend decided to explore the rooftop of the high school, scaling gutters like they were goddamn ninjas or something. Maybe, if all they'd done was hang out there, no one would have noticed, but they'd chosen to do sprints across the roof, then leapt off the edge and over an eight-foot gap to another wing of the school. It was a wonder they hadn't killed themselves.From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

“Barclay knows how to put ordinary people into extraordinarily dangerous circumstances…. Readers will zip through it with delight.”—Publishers Weekly"Affecting and effective . . .[Barclay] hit the international best-seller lists last year with his first thriller, No Time for Goodbye. Too Close to Home shows him in even better form.” —Wall Street Journal“A terrifically fast-paced suspense story.” —Washington Post“A gripping read.” —Booklist