"The night they killed our neighbors, we never heard a thing."
In a quiet suburban neighborhood, in a house only one door away, a family is brutally murdered for no apparent reason. And you think to yourself: It could have been us. And you start to wonder: What if we're next?
Linwood Barclay, critically acclaimed author of No Time for Goodbye, brings terror closer than ever before in a thriller where murder strikes in the place we feel safest of all. Promise Falls isn't the kind of community where a family is shot to death in their own home. But that is exactly what happened to the Langleys one sweltering summer night, and no one in this small upstate New York town is more shocked than their next-door neighbors, Jim and Ellen Cutter. They visited for the occasional barbecue and their son, Derek, was friends with the Langleys' boy, Adam; but how well did they really know their neighbors?
That's the question Jim Cutter is asking, and the answers he's getting aren't reassuring. Albert Langley was a successful, well-respected criminal lawyer, but was he so good at getting criminals off that he was the victim of revenge--a debt his innocent family also paid in blood? From the town's criminally corrupt mayor to the tragic suicide of a talented student a decade before, Promise Falls has more than its share of secrets. And Jim Cutter, failed artist turned landscaper, need look no further than his own home and his wife Ellen's past to know that things aren't always what they seem. But not even Jim and Ellen are ready to know that their son was in the Langley house the night the family was murdered.
Suddenly the Cutters must face the unthinkable: that a murderer isn't just stalking too close to home but is inside it already. For the Langleys weren't the first to die and they won't be the last.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
September 29, 2008
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay
The night they killed our neighbors, the Langleys, we never heard a thing.
It was warm and humid that evening, so we'd closed all the windows and had the air conditioner cranked up as high as it would go. Even at that, we couldn't get the temperature in the house much below 76. This was late July, and we'd been suffering through a heat wave the last week, the thermometer hitting mid-90s pretty much every day, except for Wednesday, when it hit 100. Even some rain early in the week had failed to break it. It wasn't getting much below the mid-80s even after the sun went down.
Normally, it being a Friday night, I might have stayed up a little later, even have been up when it happened, but I had to work Saturday. That rain had set me back with all the customers I do yard work for. So Ellen and I had packed it in pretty early, nine-thirty or so. Even if we'd been up, we'd probably have been watching TV, so it's pretty unlikely we'd have heard anything.
It's not like the Langleys' place is right next door. It's the first house in off the highway along our shared driveway. Once you pass their place, it's still another fifty or sixty yards or so before you get to our house. You can't see our place from the highway. Homes out here on the outskirts of Promise Falls in upstate New York have some space between them. You can see the Langleys' house up the lane, through the trees, but we never heard their parties, and if the racket I make tuning up lawn mowers ever bothered them, they never said anything about it.
I was up around six-thirty Saturday morning. Ellen, who didn't have to go into her job up at the college, stirred as I moved into a sitting position on the side of the bed.
"Sleep in," I said. "You don't have to get up." I stood up, wandered down to the foot of the bed, saw that the book Ellen had been reading before she'd turned out the light had fallen to the floor. It was just one of a stack of books on her bedside table. You have to do a lot of reading when you organize a college literary festival.
"It's okay," she mumbled resignedly, turning her face into the pillow and pulling the covers tighter. "I'll put some coffee on. You're just going to wake me up getting dressed anyway."
"Well," I said, "if you're already getting up, some eggs would be nice." Ellen said something into the pillow I couldn't hear, but it didn't sound friendly. I continued, "If I heard you correctly, that it's no trouble, does that mean you could fry up some bacon, too?"
She turned her head. "Is there a union for slaves? I want to sign up."
I got up and walked to the window, flipped open the blinds to let the early morning sun in.
"Oh God, make it go away," Ellen said. "Jesus, Jim, shut those."
"Looks like another hot one," I said, leaving the blinds open. "I was kind of hoping it might rain, then I'd have an excuse not to work today."
"Would it kill those people if their grass missed getting cut one week?" Ellen asked.
"They pay for a weekly service, hon," I said. "I'd rather work a Saturday than have to give them refunds."
Ellen had no comeback for that. We weren't quite living hand-to-mouth, but neither were we willing to throw money away. And a lawn service, especially in this part of the country, was definitely a seasonal business. You made your living from spring to fall, unless you diversified by putting a blade on the front of your pickup and clearing driveways in the winter. I'd been hunting for a used blade. The winters around here could be fierce. Couple of years back, over in Oswego, they had snow up to the first-floor roofs.
I'd only been running a lawn service for a couple of summers now, and I needed to find ways to make more money. It wasn't exactly my dream job, and it certainly wasn't what I wanted for myself when I was a young guy starting out, but it beat what I'd most recently left behind.
Ellen took a breath, let out a long sigh, and threw back the covers. She reached, reflexively, as she did occasionally, for where her pack of smokes used to be on the bedside table, but she'd quit the habit years ago, and there was nothing there. "Breakfast is coming, Your Majesty," she said. She reached down for the book on the floor and said, "I can't believe this was a bestseller. Hard to believe a novel about wheat isn't gripping. There's a reason they set a lot of books in cities, you know. There are people there. Characters."
I took a couple of steps toward the bathroom, winced, put my hand on my lower back.
"You okay?" Ellen asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I did something to myself yesterday, I was holding the weed whacker and turned funny or something."
"You're an old man in a young man's game, Jim," Ellen said, putting on her slippers and throwing on a housecoat.
"Thanks for reminding me," I said.
"I don't have to remind you. You've got your aching back for that." She shuffled out of the bedroom as I went into the bathroom to shave.