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by Linwood Barclay
Bantam, September 2006
464 pages
ISBN: 0553804553

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Linwood Barclay brings back family man/newspaper writer Zach Walker in a new adventure that pales in comparison to what he dealt with in BAD GUYS. This time, he runs north toward his father's lakeside fishing camp when he hears from a newspaper stringer that the local police have found a mutilated corpse there.

Zach goes fearing the worst, but is relieved when he finds out that his father Arlen was not the victim. However, he cannot help feeling that this body is a harbinger. What first appears to be a bear attack turns out to be something far worse. If something is not done soon, a madman is going to have a small town down on its knees.

Zach wishes that he could be somewhere else, but he cannot sit still; he has to do something. This is the appeal in Barclay's reluctant hero. He gets himself in messes that he cannot extricate himself from. However, even if his talents involves knowledge in everything involving science fiction or how to aggravate his wife, he always does what he can to make things right.

While helping his father get back on his feet after twisting his ankle, Zach starts to investigate a series of unrelated events in town that tickle his "spidey-sense" and he knows that something evil is about to blow. Arlen Walker's neighbor has a bone to pick with the US government and he wishes to be heard.

This book could have been grim and bloody, but it is the complete opposite. LONE WOLF is the type of book that will appeal to most mystery readers. The author manages to lighten the serious tone of the situation by relying on a first-person narrative. Zach does not say anything that another person wouldn't have thought out were they in the same situation. He does not go over-the-top with his witty repartee inside his mind's eye nor does he pull a MacGyver by always having a resourceful way in solving the situation.

The main character is about as real as he can be in fiction. Readers will be able to identify with Zach Walker. Unfortunately, Zach's wife and kids are not as involved in this story as they were in BAD GUYS. That was my only disappointment, but it would not have worked inside this storyline.

Linwood Barclay may not be a household name, but he is an author who shouldn't be overlooked. He is a good entertainer who doesn't have to rely on a gimmick. He is an author worth getting to know now and in the future.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, November 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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