"Far From True," Linwood Barclay's sequel to "Broken Promise," continues the interweaving tales of the inhabitants of Promise Falls.
Barclay does an admirable job of familiarizing the reader with the characters and their backgrounds. He does this without being intrusive to those already familiar with the town. There might be too many people to keep track of, but when writing about a place and everyone who lives there, it makes sense. The main cast members are memorable — and distinct from each other.
The Constellation Drive-In Theater is closing and the owner is having a grand party to celebrate and say goodbye. The entire facility is packed with cars and people when the screen explodes and falls down on cars in the front row.
The investigation immediately leads to the demolition company hired to lay waste to the site to make way for condos, but the company hasn't yet visited the site. The explosives were deliberate and meant to invoke fear in the town.
The daughter of one of the victims hires private investigator Cal Weaver after she discovers her father's house has been ransacked. Weaver uncovers a secret room, and the materials inside could be a motive for the act of terror at the Drive-In.
Toss in a detective who knows that he has a ruthless killer loose in the town, a disgraced mayor who wants to become relevant again and several folks who don't want the truth of what went on in the secret room to get out and you've got a heady mix of small-town politics, sex and murder.
Barclay writes terrific suburban thrillers, and his characters feel like real people.
The lack of closure is a bit frustrating, but the conclusion to his trilogy will be published later this year. In truth, the three books are one giant novel, and will invoke feelings of what people enjoy in television soap operas.