Written by Linwood Barclay — After writing four comic thrillers featuring the character Zack Walker, Canadian author Linwood Barclay turned to standalone novels. His first crime thriller, No Time for Goodbye, became an international bestseller in 2008 and the author has become one of the biggest names in the genre.
Trust Your Eyes is the story of Thomas, a schizophrenic man who spends his days and nights on a website called Whirl360 – it’s similar to Google Maps. Thomas believes he is employed by the CIA to store the details of every town and city in the world in his head. He’ll be a useful man when there are no maps left in the world and a computer virus takes down all the digital ones. Thomas thinks that the CIA will turn to him to help rebuild the maps and fight the aliens who have destroyed our computer systems.
Raymond is Thomas’ brother who moves back to his childhood home for a funeral after his father dies in a tragic accident. Raymond is stunned by the death and can’t help but wonder if there is more to the accident than meets the eye. His questions are heightened when he sees the words ‘child prostitution’ in the search history on his father’s laptop.
One afternoon, whilst exploring New York City using Whirl360 Thomas sees something peculiar, something that shouldn’t be there. It looks like the image of a woman being murdered behind a window. Unable to forget what he has seen, he demands that Raymond goes to New York to investigate. Suddenly Thomas has more to deal with than just his delusions, and Raymond and he are drawn into a deadly conspiracy.
Then there is Allison, a waitress in a lot of debt. She owes her roommate a huge backlog of rent and is on the verge of being evicted. Just when she is about to call her mum and beg for help she recognises a woman on TV. It is Bridget Sawchuck, the wife of the state’s attorney general and the women with whom she has been having a relationship. Allison has an idea that will solve her money trouble – she’ll blackmail Bridget about their affair.
I was a huge fan of Linwood Barclay after reading No Time for Goodbye but thought some of his other novels felt a bit samey. He has turned it all around with Trust Your Eyes. The characters are ones you can’t help but feel drawn to. Barclay describes Thomas’ schizophrenic mannerisms in realistic detail, reminiscent of Dustin Hoffman’s performance in Rain Man. As a reader you can’t help but feel sorry for Raymond who isn’t quite sure how to handle his brother and treats him like a child. Trust Your Eyes is full of twists that keep you entertained and leave you guessing.
There are a number of different story lines in Trust Your Eyes including Thomas and Raymond discovering an image of a woman murdered behind a window; their father’s death and whether it really was an accident; the child prostitution search on the father’s laptop and whether it meant anything; the story of Allison and Bridget and their affair; and many others. Although at times the volume of story lines caused some confusion, I felt that they added to the mystery and the big question you’ll be called on to discover is how they all link together.
CFL Rating: 4 Stars