Look Both Ways – Linwood Barclay | Book Review | #LookBothWays

Just because that car sees you doesn’t mean it’s safe to cross…
They think as one. They act as one. They kill as one.

The residents of Garrett Island are part of a visionary experiment. Their cars have been sent to the mainland and for one month, they’ve got self-driving vehicles called Arrivals. With just a voice command, an Arrival will take you where you want to go, and as the cars are all aware of each other, road accidents should be a thing of the past.

As the world’s press arrives for a glimpse of this driverless future, islander and single mom Sandra Montrose preps for the huge media event. She’s ready for this new world. Her husband died when he fell asleep at the wheel, and she’s relieved her two teens, Archie and Katie, may never need driver’s licenses.

But as the day gets underway, there are signs all is not well. A member of the press has vanished. There are rumours of industrial sabotage. Before long, the sleek driverless cars are no longer taking orders. They’re starting to organize. They’re starting to hunt. And they’ve got the residents of Garrett Island in their sights.

From the international bestseller Linwood Barclay comes a breakneck new thriller.


Well this was a ride and a half. Doesn’t the thought of an autonomous car sound wonderful. You can have a nap, or read a book whilst being driven anywhere – in these fictional Arrival cars there isn’t even a steering wheel so you do get that complete chauffeured experience. Perfect. But wait…what if something goes wrong.

This is the second thriller based around autonomous cars that I’ve read and between authors John Marrs and Linwood Barclay, they are doing their best to completely put me off the idea of self driving vehicles.

There is a teasing prologue which sets the background for the story, which mainly takes place on Garrett Island in the US. A small community has been chosen to showcase these new cars made by Arrival. Islander and PR company owner Sandra has been driven to distraction by making sure that everything is perfect for the big launch with journalists and invited guests being ferried over to the island and this is her big chance to highlight her organisational skills. The islanders have been using the cars, their own vehicles having been temporarily removed to the mainland, and everything looks good. Until suddenly the big day arrives, something goes wrong and all hell breaks loose. The islanders literally have to fight for their lives. Widowed single mother Sandra not only has her professional reputation at stake, but her family too.

I usually know what to expect with this author’s books but this was rather different, at times veering more towards light horror and although decades of reading crime fiction has hardened me to reading about dead bodies, there was something about this murderous army of cars that I found slightly disconcerting. These cars were evil. They were also very intelligent and could coordinate killing and hunting strategies between them so as to cause maximum harm and destruction. This may all sound rather far fetched but given the right technology and the wrong circumstances….

With some rather ruthless characters, red flags and its underlying themes this is a thoroughly fast paced and hugely entertaining read and of course there are surprises along the way. There were certain characters that I was desperately hoping would make it to the end of the book. My favourite characters were Sandra and the serial killer neighbour (you have to read the book to get that one). As much as I enjoyed the book, I must admit to feeling rather relieved when I came towards the end and that is no reflection at all on the writer’s ability. I could just let my imagination have a rest! One to recommend though.

Finally, there is a poignant foreword written by Linwood Barclay in which he explains his love of cars, how he came to own a precious family vehicle and the inspiration for Look Both Ways.

Finally finally, if you want to know which John Marrs book I’m referring to. It’s this one, The Passengers

Linwood Barclay is an international bestselling crime and thriller author with over twenty critically acclaimed novels to his name, including the phenomenal number one bestseller No Time For Goodbye. Every Linwood Barclay book is a masterclass in characterisation, plot and the killer twist, and with sales of over seven million copies globally, his books have been sold in more than 39 countries around the world and he can count Stephen King, Shari Lapena and Peter James among his many fans.

Many of his books have been optioned for film and TV, and Linwood wrote the screenplay for the film based on his bestselling novel Never Saw It Coming. Born in the US, his parents moved to Canada just as he was turning four, and he’s lived there ever since. He lives in Toronto with his wife, Neetha. They have two grown children.

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