FEAR THE WORST was not at all what I expected. I guess the cover didn't attract me or something but as they say "you can't tell a book by its cover" was true here. It was an easy to read but hard to put down book. Indeed, it had many plot twists that weren't hard to see coming but when you have police that don't do their job right, and sub-plots that try and fool you, it is a pretty sure bet to see what is coming.
However I think the number one draw for me was Tim Blake, the main character who was written with great depth and realism. As an ordinary car salesman, divorced, and a fairly good parent, he lives a fairly routine life without too much anxiety other than normal every day things. Sidney is his 17 year old daughter who is with him for the summer and then he has to face his parental duties. When one day, Sydney doesn't come home from work, all that Tim discovers and experiences turn his normal dull life upside down and inside out.
Tim goes to the JUST IN TIME HOTEL in Connecticut where she was working (or so he thought) to inquire after her only to find out she had not been working there--ever! at all! Even the other workers there haven't heard of her. So where has she been all along and where does he start looking? It is now that Tim realizes he must find his daughter who was living in a world full of lies, and the clock is ticking.
When the police tell Tim that Sydney's car has been found, there is relief that is short lived as they tell him they found blood in the car. Tim confronts his former wife who has recently allowed not only her boyfriend but his son to move in. When Tim questions them, he finds the boy to be obnoxious and antagonistic. Whatever Tim is on to, although he isn't sure himself, the characters responsible for Sydney's disappearance get nervous and they come and go through his apartment so that when he returns it is an upside down mess. When the police find planted cocaine in the apartment, Tim is now a person of interest.
At work, when Tim takes a client out for a test drive, the "client" pulls a gun on him and the action really takes off at a fast pace! The setting in Connecticut is so well described that you feel like you know the area and that allows you to become immersed in this fast moving, can't put down thriller. There are plot twists and plenty of time you will hold your breath to see if Tim can get out of one more dangerous situation after another. I think this is a great summer read...or any time of year for that matter, as I couldn't put it down. I welcomed a book that drew me in and wouldn't let me read just one more page and then stop...I almost read it straight through if I didn't have an appointment I had to keep. Author Linwood Barclay does a superb job and I will look forward to reading more of his work in the future!