Zack Walker is a semi-successful (accent on the semi) science fiction writer whose primary vocation is reporting for The Metropolitan. He has a wife who happens to be his boss at the newspaper, a teenage son and daughter who are for the most part ungrateful and unappreciative, and a collection of Star Trek models that are his pride and joy. If Walker seems familiar, he should be, even if you did not read BAD MOVE, Linwood Barclay's debut novel; Walker, or someone very much like him, probably lives across the street from you. His problem is that he occasionally stumbles across stories that get him into trouble; the entertainment is watching him get into and out of a jam --- lethal or otherwise --- over and over throughout the course of a novel.
Click here to see the rest of this review
BAD MOVE was built around the Walkers' move from the big city to the suburbs, a move motivated by Walker's concerns about high crime. By the end of the novel, the Walkers had decided to move back to the city, which is where we find them at the beginning of BAD GUYS. Walker is doing a feature story on a series of break-ins of high-end clothiers and is on stakeout duty with Lawrence Jones, an ex-cop turned private eye who has been retained by the storeowners to get a fix on the burglaries. The break-ins seem to be tied to a black SUV that always seems to be in the vicinity when a burglary occurs, and the guys who are pulling them off mean business.
The latter becomes especially clear when one of Lawrence's partners is killed during the course of a burglary. By being on stakeout with Jones, Walker is obviously putting himself in harm's way, a fact that does not make his boss at the newspaper too happy. Walker, meanwhile, has more mundane problems. His 15-year-old son is exhibiting signs of teenage drinking, and his 18-year-old daughter seems to have attracted the attention of an undesirable character; at the same time she is becoming somewhat secretive about a new friend. Then there is the matter of the monthly budget exceeding the monthly household income, plus the fact that the Walker household has three drivers and only one car. Walker thinks he has solved the latter problem when he buys a used car on the cheap at a government auction.
The review of this Book prepared by eyal