Never Saw it Coming – Linwood Barclay

Never Saw it Coming

Publisher: Orion

From Goodreads:

This originally came out as a novella and was titled Clouded Vision – published in December 2010 under that title.

A chilling story of double-dealing, violence and murder from number one bestseller Linwood Barclay.

Keisha Ceylon is a psychic. At least, that’s what she passes herself off as. The truth is, Keisha’s real powers have more to do with separating troubled families from their money than actually seeing into the netherworld. Keisha watches the news for stories of missing family members. She gives it a few days, then moves in, tells these families she’s had a vision, that she may have some clue to where these missing people are. And by the way, she charges for this service, and likes to see the money up front.

Keisha’s latest mark is a man whose wife disappeared a week ago. She’s seen him on TV, pleading for his wife to come home, or, if she’s been abducted, pleading with whoever took her to let her go. Keisha knows a payoff when she sees one. So she pays a visit to our troubled husband and tells him her vision.

The trouble is, her vision just happens to be close enough to the truth that it leaves this man rattled. And it may very well leave Keisha dead…

My thoughts:

Keisha Ceylon wants a better life for herself and her young son. As the daughter of a con-woman, she is well versed in the art and so starts a business “Psychic Finder of Lost Souls”. When she sees a desperate family anxious for news of their missing loved ones, she pays them a visit and manages to convince them that she has seen a vision and can give them information as to their whereabouts. There is of course a fee for her services and she charges handsomely for her visions.

Keisha lives with her 10 year old son and a loser boyfriend, the hapless Kirk. The rose tinted glasses that first disguised Kirk as a knight in shining armour have lost their shine and she now wants out, but Kirk has his feet firmly under the table and he’s not going anywhere.

When Keisha sees on the TV an appeal regarding missing wife and mother Ellie Garfield, she can see a chance to make some serious money out of her “vision”. However, unbeknown to her, her story is too near the truth for comfort and she finds herself in great danger.

I’ve enjoyed all the previous Linwood Barclay books I’ve read however I did feel rather disappointed in this one. I originally read the first part of this book in 2011 when it was called “Clouded Vision”, a novella and part of the 2011 Quick Reads series. Never Saw it Coming is just an extended version, so I can quite understand why some readers feel cheated. The hardback copy I read consisted of just 244 pages of large type, so this was a fairly ‘Quick Read’ too.

Maybe because this one started life as a short read, it still doesn’t feel like a proper full length novel. The chapters are quite short which normally I quite like but here they just feel disjointed. None of the characters are explored to any depth and we mainly see a one sided Keisha. I’m sure there is more to her than just parting people from their money.

There was a surprise link in the story to the 2007 book, ‘No Time for Goodbye’ as one of the characters makes a brief return appearance.

The plot is clever and there are some twists and turns in the story however this was not an edge of your seat, suspense filled thriller and if this was your first Linwood Barclay read you could be in a for a disappointment. I can highly recommend ‘Trust your Eyes’ or ‘Never Look Away’ as being far better books to start with.

My rating: 3/5

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