The wait for Parting Shot is over in North America!
Parting Shot, the final (I think) Promise Falls novel, has been released in the U.S. and Canada, and it’s already getting raves.
Publishers Weekly, in a Starred Review, called it “outstanding.” Kirkus, in another Starred Review, said, “Barclay’s latest small-town thriller is one of his best.”
Publishers Weekly went on to say this: “Barclay adroitly blends themes of internet vitriol and simmering societal rage with a taut plot full of sly hints, unexpected twists, and red herrings.”
Parting Shot takes place one year after the events of the Promise Falls trilogy (Broken Promise, Far From True, The Twenty-Three) and while it references what has come before, it’s very much a standalone thriller. It stars reader favourites Barry Duckworth and Cal Weaver who are on separate investigations that are heading toward an intersection.
Some readers are thinking of it as the fourth book in the Promise Falls trilogy, which will no doubt give everyone the impression that math is not my strong suit.
And in the UK and Ireland . . .
The paperback edition of Parting Shot will be released November 2. (It came out there in hardcover back in May.) And that very same day, the fourth and final Zack Walker novel, Bad News, will be released.
The four Zack novels came out in North America between 2004 and 2007, but are having their first release in the UK this year. In the last three months, Bad Move, Bad Guys and Bad Luck have been published.These were comic thrillers about a somewhat obsessive-compulsive, pain in the butt yet well-intentioned science fiction writer who finds himself in some real jams. I loved writing these books, but at the time of their release they were not big sellers, so I limited Zack’s outings to four.
The Zack Walker Mysteries
What I’m watching these days
We continue to binge-watch great television shows, and if you ask me what I watched last week, I usually can’t remember. But there are some standouts. Right now we’re into the third season of “Bosch” based, of course, on Michael Connelly’s novels about Harry Bosch, and this season is every bit as good as the first two. Favourite character? Maddie. My wife loves any Bosch novel that prominently feature the detective’s teenage daughter. Her presence goes a long way to softening and humanizing Harry.
I never knew what a great dramatic actor Jason Bateman could be until I saw the new Netflix series “Ozark” It is flat out terrific. Dark, plenty of twists, great characters.
And now we’re absorbed in David Simon’s and George Pelecanos’ take on the rise of the porn industry in New York in the 1970s. It’s called “The Deuce” and it’s on HBO. Not always easy to watch, but it’s mesmerizing.
On the lighter side, “Episodes” has finished its run. This comedy about the TV business in Hollywood seems to have flown under the radar for its entire run, but it’s sharp and witty.
As for movies, we haven’t gotten to many in an actual theatre lately, except for “Logan Lucky” (very good) and “It” (also very good, and shot in Port Hope, Ontario, not far from our summer place). As for downloads, I highly recommend “The Big Sick.”
What I’m reading these days
Trying to remember what I read last week is like trying to remember what I watched. But again, there are some standouts.
The Secrets She Keeps, by my friend Michael Robotham, is one of his best books.
Letterman, The Last Giant of Late Night, by Jason Zinoman, is a fascinating look at the now-retired talk show host.
Mrs. Fletcher, by Tom Perrotta. This is my first Perrotta novel. I bought it because I loved the HBO series The Leftovers, which was inspired by his novel of the same name. This book is nothing like that series, but it is funny, insightful, edgy. Highly recommended.
Back Story, by Robert B. Parker. This is a Spenser novel from 2004. I’d read it when it came out, but every once in a while I pull a Parker off the shelf and reread it. Parker made it look simple, but writing a book this light and engaging is not easy. The man had a gift. The Spenser novels are now being written by Ace Atkins, and he’s doing a great job with them.
First Snow, Last Night, by Wayne Johnston. I can find more great writing in just one chapter of a Johnston book than in entire novels by other authors. Maybe my current favourite Canadian author of literary novels.
Giant of the Senate, by Al Franken. A hilarious but sometimes serious book by the former “Saturday Night Live” star who is now a Minnesota senator. Best line: “I like Ted Cruz more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruz. And I hate Ted Cruz.”
Forever and a Death, by Donald E. Westlake. A couple of decades ago, Westlake was commissioned to write a screenplay for a James Bond movie. It didn’t get made. So he recycled the plot, without 007, and wrote this novel, which has only just been published by Hard Case Crime, years after Westlake’s death. It’s a little uneven, but it’s still Westlake, so you can’t go wrong. And there’s a great Afterword about the movie project, and how it went sideways.
And what’s waiting on the bedside table
Sleeping Beauties, by Stephen King and Owen King. This father-son epic comes in at over 700 pages, so I am saving it for when I have time to jump in and devour it properly. My wife, Neetha, and I were invited to come backstage and say hello before Stephen and Owen went out before a sold-out crowd at their one Canadian appearance, in Toronto. It was a great show. They each read from the book and then interviewed each other. The best part was when Owen asked his dad four questions from a Stephen King trivia book. The questions were all on Firestarter, and Stephen did not badly, getting three out of four.
Linwood and his wife Neetha with Stephen and Owen King
The Chase is ready to Escape!
Chase, my first thriller for young readers, came out earlier this year in Canada and the UK to some very nice reviews (the ones I liked most were from kids) and the sequel is ready to go.
Chase followed the adventures of Chipper, a dog that’s part computer who has escaped from The Institute, a secret organization that is turning dogs – and kids – into spying machines. Chase ended with a real cliffhanger, and the sequel, Escape, picks up right where Chase left off.
Earlier in October I attended the annual crime fiction convention known as Bouchercon (named in honour of the late Anthony Boucher, the crime book critic for the New York Times). This year, it was in my backyard, Toronto. The best thing about Bouchercon is getting caught up with friends, like writers Mark Billingham, Reed Farrel Coleman, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Lee Goldberg and Poisoned Pen bookstore owner Barbara Peters.
Linwood with Reed Farrel Coleman (left) and Lee Goldberg (right)
Screens, big and small
The six-part French TV series based on my novel The Accident (called, get ready, L’Accident), is set to air in France in January, I’m told. I’ve seen the first two episodes, subtitled, and it looks terrific. If you want to see the trailer again, you can see it here:
And Never Saw it Coming, the Gail Harvey-directed film based on my novel (I wrote the screenplay) will be out in 2018.
There are some other things percolating that I hope to be able to tell you about in a future newsletter. Stay tuned.
Did you hear something downstairs?
Could you go check?
We have a title for the 2018 release: A Noise Downstairs.
This is my most Hitchockian novel yet. The working title was The Typewriter, but we think A Noise Downstairs is just a titch creepier. It’s the story of a man who acquires an old, manual typewriter that starts making noises in the night. One evening, before going to bed, the man rolls in a sheet of paper. In the morning, there’s a message…
I think A Noise Downstairs is one of the best thrillers I’ve ever written, and I can’t wait to tell you more about as we get closer to the release date, which will be in July, in the US, UK and Canada.
All for now!
I hope to be back to you before Christmas. Thanks again for subscribing to the newsletter. You can also keep up with me at: