Saturday 5 November 2016

Book ~ "The Twenty-Three" (2016) Linwood Barclay

From Goodreads ~ Everything has been leading to this.

It’s the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, May 23rd, and the small town of Promise Falls, New York, has found itself in the midst of a full-blown catastrophe. Hundreds of people are going to the hospital with similar flu-like symptoms - and dozens have died. Investigators quickly zero in on the water supply. But the question for many, including private investigator Cal Weaver, remains: Who would benefit from a mass poisoning of this town?

Meanwhile, Detective Barry Duckworth is faced with another problem. A college student has been murdered and he’s seen the killer’s handiwork before - in the unsolved homicides of two other women in town. Suddenly, all the strange things that have happened in the last month start to add up.

Bloody mannequins found in car “23” of an abandoned Ferris wheel, fiery, out-of-control bus with “23” on the back, that same number on the hoodie of a man accused of assault.

The motive for harming the people of Promise Falls points to the number 23 - and working out why will bring Duckworth closer to death than he’s ever been before.

On Saturday of a long weekend, many in the small town of Promise Falls wake up, enjoy a cup of coffee ... and then become violently ill and die. It's eventually narrowed down that something poisonous was added to the town's water supply.

In the meantime, a university student is found murdered in her dorm room ... the same way two other women in the town were murdered over the last three years.

Randy is the sleazy ex-mayor who is running for mayor again. He owns a bottled water company and generously donates water to the residents of Promise Falls ... but is he doing it because he cares or does he want the free publicity?

David is a former journalist and is now working for Randy. David's girlfriend, Sam, has disappeared with her son and his voice messages and texts to her have gone unanswered. He discovers that her ex-husband has escaped from prison and he is determined to find Sam and her son to make sure they are okay.

This is the third and final book in the Promise Falls series and I've read all three. It could work as a stand alone but I think you'd be better off reading the first two before you read this one. There was a lot going on in the first two (too much actually) and things continue in this one. There are references to the stuff that happened in the other books and if I picked this one up without reading the first ones, I would find it a bit confusing and overwhelming. Even having read the first two, sometimes it took me a bit to remember who was who (there are a lot of characters!) and what had happened to them. Stuff that had happened in the first book had no real relevance in this one (like the history of Marla and her baby) but it was something that was brought up and it just added to the confusion since there was so much going on as it was.

I've read many books by this author over the years ... some I've liked a lot and some not so much. I like the writing style in this one and was okay with the switching of perspectives ... sometimes it was third person perspective with the focus on wherever the action was and sometimes it was first person perspective (in Detective Duckworth's voice). As a head's up, there is swearing (lots of F-bombs).

By the end of this book, the major plot lines of the murders and the significance of the number 23 were finally solved. I found it annoying that when the first two books ended, everything was still outstanding. I like reading books in a series but I like each book in the series to have closure and an ending (so they can work as stand alones) ... the three books in this series didn't (even this book left one of the storylines hanging). You have to read this one (the third in this series) to finally find out whodunnit in the first and second book.

I bought the "whodunnit" of the number 23 incidents but found the the murderer of the women unbelievable.

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