Fear-the-WorstReviewed by Jennifer R.

Linwood Barclay’s latest thriller, Fear the Worst, tells the suspenseful story of a man searching relentlessly for his daughter, who has mysteriously disappeared. The plot moves quickly and the cliffhanger at the end of each chapter kept me continuously engaged in the story.

Tim Blake’s 17-year-old daughter, Sydney (Syd), is staying with him for the summer, as she does every year. During the visit last year, she worked at the car dealership her father works at, but this year she got a new job working at a local hotel. One day, Syd and her father have an argument before she leaves for work and she doesn’t return home. When Tim goes to Syd’s work to check on her, he finds out that she never worked there and no one knows who she is.

Though Tim eventually has to return to his mundane daily life, he continues to do what he can to find clues about Syd’s disappearance. He slowly learns that Syd was involved with a lot more than he realized and may not have been who he thought she was.

For those who want a fast-paced and fun read, this is it. I could easily see this being turned into an entertaining suspense movie. However, the book is so heavily focused on plot turns and twists and continued action that it lacks some character development. We meet a range of characters, but rarely get to know any well. Although the few flashbacks of Syd as a child at different ages contribute slightly to the story, there are also several plot points that seem a little too convenient.

I have to say, though, that even when I noticed some flaws in Fear the Worst, it didn’t really take away from the entertaining aspect of the book. I plowed through the story because I wanted to know what happened to Sydney, and I was happy with the way the mystery wrapped up. I would have preferred one more chapter to wrap up other loose ends, but as previously mentioned, this book focused completely on the main mystery at hand.

Jenny is a social worker in her late twenties. She lives with her husband and Jack Russell Terrier in the central Florida area. In her “free” time, she loves reading books of all genres. She also reviews books on her book blog TakeMeAway.