Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Trust Your Eyes

Thomas Kilbride has been obsessed with maps since he was a child.  Now an adult, he studies an Internet map site called whirl360 in an attempt to memorise every street in the world.  One evening, while studying a street in Manhattan, he notices something unusual in an apartment window: a woman with a plastic bag over her head, being suffocated.  He tells his brother, Ray, what he has seen but the only problem is that Thomas is a diagnosed schizophrenic who rarely leaves his room, let alone the house. Is he telling the truth? Or is this a delusion that can be easily explained?

Linwood Barclay's Trust Your Eyes is best described as a 'Pandora's Box'.  Not content with the central mystery Barclay quickly establishes plenty of grey areas concerning, an incident in Thomas' childhood and the sudden death of Kilbride boys' father, plus the mysterious phone calls that only Thomas is privy to. 

There are plot twists galore: some expected, some not.  At certain points I found this disorientating, as I did the non linear elements, but I was compelled by a story that bordered on the ridiculous, and could fall apart at any moment, to keep reading.  The success of Trust Your Eyes hinges on the use of smoke and mirrors.  Barclay adeptly keeps you wondering how much of Thomas' world is real by misdirecting the reader with plenty of time changes and narrator switches.  These offered insight into different aspects of the plot, but my only criticism is that these portions of the book revealed uninspired and cliched character histories and present actions.  The only two exceptions were Thomas, who felt less of a caricature, and had complexity, as did his brother Ray.  Barclay wonderfully portrayed Ray's struggle of trying to look after and communicate with his brother, while dealing with his own issues.

A great, thrilling, holiday read, but if you're a quick reader I think Trust Your Eyes would probably be a satisfying companion on a long-haul flight. 

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