The Twenty-Three, by Linwood Barclay

The day begins like any other Saturday – a shower, coffee, breakfast. But suddenly, all hell breaks lose in the small town of Promise Falls. People are dying in the streets and the hospital is completely overwhelmed. Detective Barry Duckworth is already investigating two murders and an explosion. He starts to wonder about the crimes, and if the new attacks are connected to the mysterious incidents in Promise Falls involving the number twenty-three. But how is sending these deadly messages?

The Twenty-Three is the final book in the Promise Falls trilogy and it is as every bit as addictive and thrilling as its predecessors. Linwood Barclay is a master of thrillers, and he doesn’t disappoint.

Short, punchy chapters heighten the sense of tension and suspense right up to the last page. Barclay keeps a frenetic pace throughout the entire novel, allowing readers to get a real feel for the mayhem and pressure the police and emergency services are working in.

There’s a myriad of characters, from the politically ambitious mayoral candidate Randy, to Cal Weaver, a private investigator who has lost everything but tries to protect a little girl when her mother dies. While the story is told through a number of different character’s viewpoints, Barclay’s writing style makes it easy to follow. Each character, even the unlikeable ones, are well-rounded and familiar, and you can’t help but feel for them as they navigate the challenges that living in Promise Falls brings.

While this is the third and final book of the series, it can be read as a stand alone. However, it will help a little to read all three as the author intended, preferably in quick succession because I found myself forgetting some characters and story lines. For fans of the series though, this finale is a must. Questions from the previous novels are answered and things slowly become clearer for the reader. Barclay carefully and expertly brings it all to an exquisite ending. A pulse-pounding, race-against-time thriller, that will have you mesmerised from start to finish.

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TITLE: The Twenty-Three
AUTHOR(S): Linwood Barclay
PUBLISHER: Hachette
RRP: $37.99
ISBN: 9780451472724

Rebekah is an Otago-based mother of two young girls. The former journalist and primary school teacher has a soft spot for New Zealand authors and young adult fiction. Follow her on Twitter.

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