Clouded Vision by Linwood Barclay. Orion £1.99
Reviewed by Peter Coleborn
I haven’t read anything by Linwood Barclay before and so I bought this slim volume, discovered whilst browsing the bookshops last year, published as part of the Galaxy Quick Reads project in 2011. And at just under two pounds, what was the risk? Quick read? Well, yes it is, once you start it – after all, it’s just a 90-page novella – even though it had sat on my “to be read” pile for many months. I am very pleased that the book did, eventually, reach the top of the heap.
Considering that this is a novella, Barclay uses multiple viewpoints to perfection. Often, I find that too many POVs can obscure the story, or maybe gives away too much, especially when used in the shorter form. But not in this case. The tale begins with Ellie, a brief moment as we share her death. Then we are introduced to Keisha, a psychic who aims to help Ellie’s husband find the body, which is missing in the bleak, cold winter environment. Keisha intends to earn a handsome payment for her services – which, we quickly learn – are dubious, to say the least. And Kendall – the husband – has his doubts.
The reader learns reasonably early on what has happened to Ellie, and discovers who may be involved with her death. It takes Keisha longer to figure it out. But that all adds to the tension Barclay has created in this small book. I do prefer short stories and novellas to novels (which can be over long), and thoroughly enjoyed this brief, scary ride to hell. I note that the book is still available via Amazon, both in print and for the Kindle.