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Bad Move [Mass Market Paperback]

Linwood Barclay
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 26 2005 Zack Walker
In the too-quiet town of Oakwood, only the lucky die of boredom…and new homeowner Zack Walker isn’t feeling lucky. Whoever said the burbs were boring will think twice after reading Linwood Barclay’s hilarious debut mystery, in which Dad learns the hard way that he doesn’t always know best.

Zack wouldn’t blame you for thinking he’s safety-obsessed. True, he masterminded a plot to trade his family’s exciting city lifestyle for one of suburban tranquillity. True, even after this strategic move, Zack still has issues with family members who forget their keys in the front door, leave their cars unlocked, or park their backpacks at the top of the stairs—where you could kill yourself tripping over them. Just ask his wife, Sarah, or his teenage kids, Paul and Angie, who endure their share of lectures.

Zack knows that he needs to chill out and assume the best for once—but we know what happens to those who assume.

When Zack realizes their two-faced developer sent a petty thief to fix their leaky shower, he starts fighting hard to ignore the fact that Oakwood isn’t the crime-free paradise he was hoping for. But his brief state of denial comes to an abrupt end when, during a walk by the creek, he stumbles across a dead body. Even more shocking, Zack actually knows who the victim is—and who might want him dead.

With a killer roaming around their neighborhood and Zack’s overactive imagination in overdrive, he’s sure things can’t get any worse. But then another local is murdered—and Zack’s paranoid tendencies get him implicated in the crime. While his wife is trying to remember why she married him in the first place, and his kids are considering whether it’s time to have him committed, Zack decides there’s only one thing he can do. To protect his family—and avoid being busted for a crime he didn’t commit—he’s going to have to override his safety-first instincts, tap into his delusions of machismo, and track down the killer himself.


From the Hardcover edition.

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From Amazon

Zack Walker is a man with too much time on his hands. To avoid the deadline for his next science fiction novel, he wanders around his seemingly tranquil suburban neighbourhood, the calm setting safety-obsessed Zack pictured when he moved his family out of the crime-ridden inner city. This placid portrait is rudely interrupted, though, when he stumbles across the body of an apparent murder victim, and when he starts to indulge in some amateur sleuthing, Zack gets to know his neighbors a little better, including an S&M dominatrix and a professional pot grower, whose help he has to enlist once his snooping puts his family in danger.

Bad Move is the first thriller from veteran Toronto Star humour columnist Linwood Barclay, and it is a highly entertaining debut. Many of Barclay's columns revolve around the foibles of family life in the suburbs, and he brings this sensibility to work here, with very funny results. Whereas the heroes of crime fiction are all too often a cynical male loner or a single woman balancing her love life and crime fighting, Barclay's protagonist is a happily married suburban husband and father. Barclay clearly reads the other pages of his newspaper, as Toronto-based readers can easily identify situations and characters torn from real headlines, including greedy real estate developers clashing with environmentalists, bawdy houses, and suburban marijuana growing operations. Yes, there are occasionally flaws in the credibility of the unfolding events, and plot twists are sometimes just a mite predictable, but Bad Move has to be judged a very readable effort. Let's hope for more of Walker's suburban sleuthing. --Kerry Doole --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Riotously funny and irreverent, Canadian journalist Barclay's mystery debut is a rollicking good read. When Zack Walker, a sometimes cranky and always paranoid science fiction writer, moves with his family from the city to Valley Forest Estates, he soon finds that life in the suburbs can be dangerous, even deadly. Envious of a childhood friend who once found a drowning victim, Zack gets his wish and stumbles across the body of Samuel Spender, a zealous conservationist who'd been trying to prevent the final phase of Valley Forest's construction around the habitat of a rare salamander. In his campaign, Spender made several enemies, including the subdivision's sales manager, Don Greenway. Zack, who witnessed a heated argument between Spender and Greenway the day the conservationist died, is soon neck-deep in trouble when he finds a second body, a cache of cash and a canister of undeveloped film. Murder, blackmail and extortion are just the tip of the iceberg, as Zack realizes some very nasty people want what he has and will stop at nothing to get it. While Zack is an amazingly flawed hero, he's a breath of fresh air with no illusions about his odd compulsions and his limited abilities. His often exasperated wife Sarah makes the perfect comic foil. Fans of lighter crime capers will rejoice.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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for years, I envied my friend Jeff Conklin, who, at the age of eleven, found a dead guy. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Linwood Barclay is well known to Canadian readers by virtue of his Toronto Star newspaper column, as well as a number of nonfiction books he has published. BAD MOVE is his first work of fiction. It is a quirky yet appealing work with which a number of readers will identify, undoubtedly making Barclay a well-known commodity on this side of the border as well.
BAD MOVE defies easy categorization, and bless Barclay for that. It is a mystery, yes, but there is a vein of humor that runs wide and deep through it. I was put in the mind of Donald Westlake in more than a couple of spots, although Barclay seems to have wanted to write a gently cautionary tale as well; if he did, he has succeeded.
The Walker family is living in the big city and finds that their comfortable neighborhood is falling, falling down before their eyes. Drug dealers plying their trade, punks on the street corners, hookers on the streets ... things are simply not as they were.
Zack Walker, husband and father to his ungrateful and unappreciative family, is a science fiction writer of some minor renown who seems to spend more time off of the keyboard than on it. Walker is a bit of a safety and security freak, in a family of devil-may cares. He has some insight into his extremes. I was somewhat unsettled to discover him playing tricks on his family to make them observe some basic security rules (locking the door, keeping objects off of the stairs) that I have done with my own family.
Walker, fed up with the deterioration of his neighborhood, gets the idea to move to the suburbs. His wife is initially against it, but after a trip to Valley Forest Estates in the town of Oakwood she is eventually won over (the item that tips her over favoring the move had me howling and is all too true). The Walkers pack up and move.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Likeable whodunit March 29 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Linwood Barclay has written a number of Zach Walker mysteries. Bad Move combines mystery and a touch of comedy and is not as intense as some of his later books. It was an easy read and I enjoyed it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exciting crime thriller June 1 2004
Format:Hardcover
The Walker family used to live downtown. However, when used condoms and needles were found on the street and a five year old girl was killed and cut up and put in the refrigerator, Zack decided it was time to move to the suburbs, where his family would be safe. Zack obsesses over his family's safety and he goes to extraordinary lengths to teach his loved one how to remain out of harm's way, which usually ends up making them furious at him.
One day when Zack and his wife are at the supermarket, he notices his spouse left her purse in the cart. To teach her a lesson he takes the bag and puts it in the trunk of the car so she will think it is stolen. When his wife comes back to the car, he realizes she is wearing a fanny pack and he stole someone else's purse. By the time he tracks the owner down, he finds her murdered in her home and realizes he has stumbled into a dangerous situation that puts him and his family in harm's way.
BAD MOVE is one of the most exciting crime thrillers of the year as the troubles the protagonist finds himself in borders on the slapstick. His obsessive need for safety lands him in trouble with businessmen, politicians and a cold blooded killer who wants nothing more than to murder the hero and read his latest science fiction manuscript. Making all the right moves, Linwood Barclay has a refreshingly original voice that this reviewer believes will turn him into a superstar in the crime thriller sub-genre.
Harriet Klausner
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5.0 out of 5 stars Linwood at his best April 27 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
super super super / Linwood Barclay in my opinion is the best / read them all now / waiting for 2014 issue
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5.0 out of 5 stars Linwood Barclay's first book Oct. 8 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just finished reading this book. I read all of Linwood Barclay's newer books. I then started to read some of his older books. Newer or older they were all Amazing!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good start to the Zack Walker series Sept. 16 2013
By DR
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I recently discovered this author and wanted to try this book since this was the start of a series with the same character. From what I gather, this was one of the first books that Barclay wrote.

For me, the book can be broken up into two parts, the first 8-9 chapters before the body was found and the rest of the book. Given that this is the first of a series, Barclay uses the first 8-9 chapters to establish the characters, their stories, and the their relationships with each other. While this is needed, I found this part to be slow and I actually wondered if I would finish the book. I would give this part 2.5/5.

The rest of the book is where the author's talents shine through. When he navigates our hero through the twists and turns of this mystery, you want an excuse not to do anything else so you can just read this book. Zack's tendencies and fears blended well with the main mystery. I gave this part 4.5/5.

If you decide to read the Zack Walker stories, I would recommend reading them in order starting with this one.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Reminds me of watching the 3 stooges
I got half way through this book then gave up. The plot becomes quite outlandish as the main character does more and more ridiculous and unbelievable things as the story moves... Read more
Published 11 months ago by lenny prune
4.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud murder mystery
Deft blend of humor and mayhem. Lots of fun to read. A page turner with appealing and interesting characters and a satisfying ending.
Published 11 months ago by cleo
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
I have only recently discovered Linwood Barclay. Exiting reads. Always an unexpected twist. I put him at the top of my list with Grisham and Baldacci.
Published 16 months ago by Nancy From Knowlton
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great thriller!
After just reading one of Linwood Barclay's books I had to buy every one he'd written. This is an exciting thriller, fast paced and I couldn't stop reading. Read more
Published on Dec 18 2011 by A. Rhodes
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! What a surprisingly super book!
I don't read many first person books, you know "I did this", "I did that" but after reading Mr Barclay's No Time For Goodbyes, I picked up this one and holy smokes, it took me 3... Read more
Published on Jan. 25 2011 by Michel
5.0 out of 5 stars good stuff
Bad Move is a damn good read. Intricately plotted...fast-paced...and wickedly funny throughout. In Zach Walker, author Linwood Barclay has fashioned an everyman hero, aided and... Read more
Published on July 5 2004 by Silver
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