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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Final Assignment

Series: Promise Falls 1.5


Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 1/12/2016

Format: e-book

My Rating: 4 Stars

Stephen King has called him “a suspense master.” Now the New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of Broken Promise delivers a taut thriller about a crime that will give the town of Promise Falls a punch to the gut... Private investigator Cal Weaver doesn’t know what to expect when he’s called to the home of Chandler Carson. The sixteen-year-old has been suspended for writing a violent story about a bat-wielding teen who beats his best friend to death over a girl. Much to Chandler’s mother’s surprise, there’s nothing that Cal is willing to do—or can do—about it. Soon after, Chandler’s best friend is found murdered—beaten to death by a bat. Cal knew the victim, and now he knows the prime suspect. But there’s more to this story than anyone could have imagined...

My Review

Linwood Barclay returns following BROKEN PROMISE (Promise Falls #1), landing on my Top Books of 2015 with a teaser novella FINAL ASSIGNMENT (Promise Falls #1.5) -with more evil at play, in the small town of Promise Falls; where nothing is as it appears. Set in a fictional upstate New York small town outside of Albany, called Promise Falls—a town slowly dying—quickly adding “people” as well as businesses to the demise. With all the action and mysterious crime happening in Promise Falls—Final Assignment, makes it way to the high school with a group of teens and parents --bullying, social media, revenge, murder, and a damaging short story. For all you fans-- some appearances with characters from Book #1 return. Cal Weaver, PI has been called to one of the more upscale neighborhoods of Promise Falls from a frantic mom, Greta, requesting some dirt on the local high school staff. Their son, Chandler apparently had written a colorful short story for one of his classes—now he finds himself being treated like some sort of psychotic degenerate. Chandler’s English teacher asked them to write something creative, and imaginative. His story was of one kid beating another kid to death with a baseball bat—the mom thought it was innovative thinking. There was a meeting at school, and they are questioning the writing and his mental state. They want him to go for counseling or psychiatric testing. The parents are appalled –plenty people write dark and creepy things—referring to writers, Poe, Lovecraft and King. Upon questioning, turns out there was some earlier problems. Chandler and his friend, Michael Vaughn had made fun of a gay guy at school - Joel. They took a photo of him with another guy and posted it. Joel was upset with the invasion of privacy as well as the family. The mother wants to blackmail the son’s teachers so they will leave her son alone; (she uses the word, leverage). Fight fire with fire. Cal Weaver wants no part of this. Michael’s mom is a friend of the family, and Suzanne is now calling Cal for help. Michael did not come home. He is missing. Now in the middle, he is trying to help. However, soon thereafter an event occurs, identical to the short story. A murder. A baseball bat. The woods. Exactly like the story. Is someone trying to frame Chandler? Motive? Revenge? He and Michael had been fighting over a girl recently, or could it be Joel? Police detective, Barry Duckworth, (donut lover) is back and on the case. Cal is one step ahead with some information. A baseball bat, a murder weapon, and a mystery case of whodunit. We also meet Lucy Brighton, the head of the guidance department at the school. (Look out for more from Lucy and Cal in) FAR FROM TRUE. Get out your score card, as there is so much in store, it will keep your head spinning! Highly recommend this crime thriller series, mixed with humor. Barclay is the King of creative cliffhangers.

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About the Author

Linwood Barclay is the #1 internationally bestselling author of thirteen novels, including Trust Your Eyes, A Tap on the Window, No Time for Goodbye and that novel's followup, No Safe House.

This summer, his thriller Broken Promise, the first of three linked novels about his fictional upstate New York town Promise Falls, will be released. Book two will come nine months later, and another nine months after that, the conclusion will be released.

Over the years, several of Barclay's novels have been optioned for film and television. Most recently, No Time for Goodbye has been optioned for television in France, and in 2012, Trust Your Eyes was the object of a film rights bidding war between Universal and Warner Bros.

After spending his formative years helping run a cottage resort and trailer park after his father died when he was 16, Barclay got his first newspaper job at the Peterborough Examiner, a small Ontario daily. In 1981, he joined the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest circulation newspaper.

He held such positions as assistant city editor, chief copy editor, news editor, and Life section editor, before becoming the paper’s humour columnist in 1993. He was one of the paper’s most popular columnists before retiring from the position in 2008 to work exclusively on books.

In 2004, he launched his mystery series about an anxiety-ridden, know-it-all, pain-in-the-butt father by the name of Zack Walker. Bad Move, the first book, was followed by three more Zack Walker thrillers: Bad Guys, Lone Wolf, and Stone Rain. His first standalone thriller, No Time for Goodbye, was published in 2007 to critical acclaim and great international success. The following year, it was a Richard and Judy Summer Read selection in the UK, and did seven straight weeks at #1 on the UK bestseller list.

The book has been sold around the world and been translated into nearly thirty languages.

Barclay was born in the United States but moved to Canada just before turning four years old when his father, a commercial artist whose illustrations of cars appeared in Life, Look and Saturday Evening Post (before photography took over), accepted a position with an advertising agency north of the border. Barclay, who graduated with an English literature degree from Trent University, in Peterborough, Ontario, was fortunate to have some very fine mentors; in particular, the celebrated Canadian author Margaret Laurence, whom Linwood first met when she served as writer-in-residence at Trent, and Kenneth Millar, who, under the name Ross Macdonald, wrote the acclaimed series of mystery novels featuring detective Lew Archer. It was at Trent that he met Neetha, the woman who would become his wife. They have two children, Spencer and Paige. Read More

Broken Promise

Promise Falls #1


My Rating: 5 Stars +

Far From True Promise Falls #2

3/22/2016 Read More

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