On the morning she will never forget, suburban teenager Cynthia Archer awakes with a nasty hangover and a feeling she is going to have an even nastier confrontation with her mom and dad. She isn't. Instead, the house is empty, with no sign of her parents or younger brother Todd. At first she just thinks it's weird, then more and more scary, until finally the terrifying reality hits her: in the blink of an eye, without any explanation, her family has simply disappeared. Twenty-five years later the mystery is no nearer to being solved and Cynthia is still haunted by unanswered questions. Were her family murdered? If so, why was she spared? And if they're alive, why did they abandon her in such a cruel way? Now married with a daughter of her own, Cynthia knows that without answers - however shocking they might prove to be - she will never be emotionally or psychologically whole, living in daily fear that her new family will be taken from her just as her first one was. And so she agrees to take part in a TV documentary revisiting the case, in the hope that somebody somewhere will remember something - or even that her father, mother or brother might finally reach out to her...First nothing.
Then just a few crackpots and scam artists coming out of the woodwork. And then the letter, a letter which makes no sense and yet chills Cynthia to the core. And soon she begins to realise that stirring up the past could be the worst mistake she has ever made...
Shortlisted for Galaxy British Book Awards: Books Direct Crime Thriller of the Year 2009.
Linwood Barclay is married with two children and lives in Toronto. He has written a popular column for the Toronto Star since 1993.