notimeforgoodbyeEver wondered what it would be like to have an argument with your parents, tell them you wished they were dead, go to bed and wake up the next morning to discover that you are all alone in your house with everyone else all missing?

This is the plot for No Time for Goodbye in which 15 year old Cynthia Bigge wakes up one morning to see her parents Clayton and Patricia and her younger brother, Todd and the family cars all gone. Missing without a trace. No note left behind. No signs of anything. Only an unsolvable case closed by the police. A cold case file.

Fast forward to 25 years later and the story picks up again, this time narrated by Terry Archer as he watches a TV crew taping his wife Cynthia returning to her old home and describing that fateful night. It is a reality show and Cynthia has agreed to take part in it with hopes that someone out there watching the show might know something about the case and come forward with information that may give the police a break in their dead-end investigation.

The show airs and weeks go by … a few crank calls and one bogus psychic – but still no new leads. The Archers just about give up hoping when a black Fedora belonging to Clayton Bigge shows up one day on the kitchen table in the Archers’ home. And then the phone call and later a note, typewritten using Terry’s own typewriter that is kept in his study at home.

Someone out there knows everything and is slowly stripping away the layers of mystery, leading the Archers closer to solving the disappearance of Cynthia’s family but not before creating tension between husband and wife, and the deaths of Cynthia’s aunt, Tess and Denton Abagnall, the private investigator the Archers hire to try and piece together the puzzle.

I wont spoil this book for those of you who have not read it and plan on getting it. Suffice to say, it all starts with Clayton Bigge and ends with Clayton Sloan.

What do I think of this book? Okay – let’s start with the good things first. It’s easy to read, Barclay’s style of writing is direct, to the point, raw at times and unpretentious. He conveys the feeling of desperation and moments of insanity that hounds Cynthia well, and overall, achieves in producing a plot that is well paced, as it walks and then runs towards its climatic ending. In short, you’ll want to keep turning the pages over to know what happens next.

As for the not so good points, I must point out that at times, the plot is almost incredible and beyond belief especially the secret shared between Rolly Carruthers and Clayton Bigge, how each man’s need to keep one secret led to so many other things.

I hope this is enough to make you want to read it because I do think this is a readable book though not worth shouting about. Out of 10, (10 being excellent), I would give this one a 6 or 7. Readable, enjoyable – makes the time pass. And oh, the ending almost brought tears to my eyes – but hey, that’s just the sentimental side of me talking.

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