The Twenty Three (Promise Falls Trilogy) – Linwood Barclay – (Berkley)
In what is the third and final installment of the Promise Falls Trilogy, The Twenty Three, bestselling author Linwood Barclay has readers ensnared in a multitude of characters, storylines and cliffhangers that he must somehow manage to pull all together.
Barclay has done a masterful job of building to this conclusion; starting with mysterious and seemingly bucolic little burg of Promise Falls in the suburbs of Albany and then adding layer after of interacting storylines and strange and wonderful characters.
This is not one of those sets that you can comfortably start anywhere that you feel; you really need to start and the beginning and work from there. That being said the sheer volume of people may leave you backtracking through pages (books?) to determine who is who. While Barclay has more in common with Steven King, the number of characters and storylines seems to be more like a Tom Clancy novel. I admit to looking around for a small white board to mind map the characters.
In The Twenty Three, the people Promise Falls are mysteriously dropping like flies on the first day of a long holiday weekend and just to spice things up on top of the dozens of sick and dying and murder victim is discovered; could it be the work of serial killer? Barclay has a tall order the bring these competing storylines to a satisfactory conclusion and some lose threads may not get clipped, leaving some fans in the lurch as he lards on the red herrings, seeming clues and dead end plot lines. Barclay it seems is some parts master storyteller and some parts frustrating, master manipulator.
Whatever your perspective on the events here, he will leave you screaming as you thunder along towards the conclusion.