TRUST YOUR EYES


By Linwood Barclay

New American Library, September 4, 2012 ($25.95)

ISBN-13: 978-0-451-23790-3

Reviewed by Sam Waas

We've all browsed sites like Google Earth, where you can stroll virtually along streets and roadways throughout the world, find your own home, maybe visit where you grew up, and pretend to "spy" on neighbors. It's a pleasant diversion and can be put to good use if navigating.

Tom Kilbride is fiercely dedicated to one particular video mapping site, Whirl360, and he literally spends every waking moment touring cities of the world. Tom has mental challenges and is what was once called an idiot savant. That is, his troubled brain allows him to focus intensely upon a single task, mastering this one goal yet being dysfunctional with the world around him. Tom's knowledge of his video tours borders on the eidetic, yet, although in his early twenties, he can barely fix his own meals.

Until recently, Tom was cared for by his father, but following the father's accidental death, Tom's older brother Ray moves temporarily to the family home to look after Tom and find a way for him to be more self sufficient. At least there is enough family money to ensure Tom's future.

All this is but a temporary nuisance and bother, until Tom suddenly sees an image during his surfing that changes everything. Tom thinks he's found a New York City apartment window that frames someone being murdered, suffocated by a plastic bag.

Although emotionally nave and developmentally challenged, Tom is still high functioning and fully capable of understanding this photo. He's disturbed by what he's seen and demands that his brother investigate. But Ray is no detective. He's just a commercial artist. Nevertheless he agrees to give it a try, and is soon enveloped in a vicious whirlpool of murder and deceit.

TRUST YOUR EYES is a brilliant and engaging thriller that begins with this enigma of modern computer life, and descends into a taut, complex conspiracy that goes deeper than a single random image captured by some recreational software system.

Linwood Barclay's excellent mystery is not computer-dependent and does not require the reader to be immersed in technology. The video mapping Internet software where Tom finds the original image is just the kickoff point of the story. The remainder of the plot is very much human-based, and contains sharply evolved characters and situations that will entertain the reader throughout.

TRUST YOUR EYES is a top quality mystery novel that is highly recommended.

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