Clouded Vision. Linwood Barclay (Quick Reads 2011) Paperback – Jan 2 2011
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Nevertheless it's a nifty little story about a con artist who poses as a psychic. She makes a living by visiting the relatives of missing people and extorting money from them in exchange for invented facts about their missing relatives. In this instance, her target is the anxious husband of a missing woman, whose fate we already know. The story unfolds alternating between the perspectives of different characters, with a couple of nice twists to hold your interest.
I applaud Linwood Barclay for recognizing it as the simple story that it is, rather than trying to stretch it out into a longer format. The perfect commuter read.
It's certainly no masterpiece, but it is a good simple short story. Although fans of Barclay expecting the normal challenge of working out who's behind the disappearance may be disappointed to not have that challenge by it being revealed early on in the story. Disappointingly with the main remainder of the story being pretty much just a how will these characters play out the drawn out his tension scene read, there aren't really any surprises, what you predict will happen is exactly what does. Also disappointing is that there is no real satisfaction level comeuppance for the villain either.
This isn't as good as Barclay's full length novels by any means, however you've got to remember this is a submission for Quick Reads so it does have to be written for a certain reading level. You've got to give the accolades to Barclay for becoming part of that worthy cause to increase literacy levels by encouraging those who don't like to read beyond magazines and comic books to try fiction through cheap priced short story length fiction. Those with that limited exposure to literature, I think will be less likely to see the predictability of the plot and will enjoy the more simpleness of the basic no possibility of confusion style story. A lot of other top name author contributors have put in pretty average submissions for Quick Reads, Barclay's Clouded Vision is one of the better contributions to this project.
Those who don't read novels will enjoy this. Any Barclay novel fan, also won't mind spending an hour or so of thier time picking up and reading this, especially if you can get it off the shelf at the cheap released price.
This is going to last you somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour. Perfect for a short journey.
A dodgy clairvoyant seeks to profit from the disappearance of a wife and Mother only to find she may have stumbled onto something by mistake....This works, it is short and sweet but effective. I have read a few thriller anthologies of late and this would easily have fitted in and been as good as most in those anthologies. For a short book it still contains a few twists and agendas and does keep you gripped to the very last page.
"Clouded Vision" brings back Keisha, a psychic of questionable powers who appeared in an earlier novel of his. Once again, Keisha hopes to make a quick buck (or one thousand bucks) off someone who has lost a loved one. In this case, a woman named Eleanor has gone missing, and Keisha approaches the grieving husband to offer her services for a price. But her conniving ways lead to unexpected consequences. Secrets are revealed. The truth is exposed. And everyone involved faces danger beyond that which they originally expected. So much for all their simple plans.
If you love the short stories of O. Henry with a modern twist, or if you love the modern mysteries of Coben and Barclay in a condensed form, "Clouded Vision" is a great way to spend an hour of easy reading.
The prologue, entitled Setting the Scene: Ellie, describes the death and ingenious seclusion of the body from the victim's point of view. That builds the suspense on which the rest of the story is founded.
Each chapter describes the progress of the plot from the perspective of one of the characters, and the conclusion of this quick read is worth the wait. It is possible to read the whole book in just over an hour.
As I read, I could guess what was going to happen next, but only a few lines ahead of each event. I think that this is skillful writing. You don't want to be able to guess the ending in the first chapter. Equally, you don't want to arrive at several revelations in the final chapter for which there have been not a single clue on the way to that point.
Definitely recommended if you want a short, entertaining murder with twists story.