Thursday, September 6, 2012

BlogHer Book Club: Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay

I'm not usually a big thriller reader, but something in the description of Trust Your Eyes, by Linwood Barclay, intrigued me, and I jumped at the chance to get my hands on this book to review for BlogHer's Book Club.

We first meet Thomas Kilbride walking through the streets of New York. He is a world traveler of sorts--though we don't know why. A spy? I wondered. An FBI agent? I was unsure reading the opening of this novel what Thomas' role was. What I was sure of, though, was that he was important.

Thomas stops to take in the sights, and looks up, to a window to an apartment above the street, where he spots what appears to be a woman with a bag over her head. I wondered at this point what Thomas would do. Would he run up there? Would he save the woman? Would he spring into action?

Thomas did none of these things.

Ray Kilbride's father has just died. Home for his funeral, and to settle his father's affairs, Ray also is unsure of just how to care for his younger brother, Thomas, a schizophrenic.

Thomas is obsessed with maps. He spends his days on a Google Maps type program, called Whirl 360, virtually visiting streets in every city in the world. He memorizes what he sees--down to the smallest details. It is a talent, he believes, that will save lives. Thomas Kilbride thinks that he is doing important work. He believes that Bill Clinton has asked him to memorize all the maps before they are wiped out forever. He doesn't know exactly what will take the maps away, a cyber virus perhaps, or a nuclear blast, but he does know that when that happens the CIA can count on him to recall what was lost.

Many of the things Thomas Kilbride believes, do not exist, so when he comes to his brother Ray for help about what he believes to be evidence of a murder on Whirl 360, it is hard for Ray to take him seriously.

Only--there has been a murder, and it is linked to a high profile politician. When Ray agrees to check things out on a visit to the city to appease his brother, his snooping alerts the wrong people.

The thing that Barclay does so masterfully in Trust Your Eyes is create several character's with truly unique and distinct voices. While Ray Kilbride is the main narrator of the book, the reader also gets to experience the POV of Thomas, a gold-digger, a hit-woman, a crooked union boss, a politician's manager, and others, each with clearly distinct voices and motivations.

As a writer, I appreciated this aspect of the book just as much, if not more, than the page-turning suspense.

*I was provided with a copy of this book to read and review, as well as compensation for my time, by BlogHer Book Club and Penguin books. All views expressed in this review are my own. 

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