Categorized | Features

A Tap on the Window, by Linwood Barclay 2013

Barclay, author of 11 previous novels, has six pages of endorsements at the front of the book. On the basis of this one book, he deserves them all. Barclay can write. The plot is complex and convoluted, just enough to make one keep track and try to figure out how the pieces fit together.
The main character (hero is too strong a word) is Cal Weaver, a former cop working as a private investigator. He and his wife Donna are dealing (not very well) with the death of their son Scott, who fell from the top of a building while under the influence of the drug Ecstasy.
Weaver is not your standard straight-shooter sleuth. He’s flawed; he seeks out young people he suspects may have sold drugs to his son and threatens grievous bodily harm in an effort to get information.
Then one night there’s a tap on his car window. A young girl is looking for a ride. It’s late and it’s raining and against his better judgment he offers her a ride.
That’s when the trouble starts. The girl pulls a fast one and disappears. Weaver becomes obsessed with finding her and winds up dealing with a police department that seems to have a few bad apples in it. And then there’s the mysterious old man locked in the basement for seven years. (Keep an eye on him.)
The mayor, father of the missing girl, may not be what he appears to be. Something is lurking under that public persona. The same may also apply to the chief of police. And several of his officers are devious and sometimes obstreperous.
There’s lots of stuff going on, all of it interwoven in a thoroughly professional manner. Happy ending? Not really, but it all gets resolved. Barclay can write.