#BookReview: Take Your Breath Away by Linwood Barclay @linwood_barclay @HQstories

Hi everyone! Today, I have a book review for a read I picked up via NetGalley. This novel is from a writer new to me, Linwood Barclay >>>

About the Book:

It’s always the husband, isn’t it? 

One weekend, while Andrew Mason was on a fishing trip, his wife, Brie, vanished without a trace. Most people assumed Andy had got away with murder, but the police couldn’t build a strong case against him. For a while, Andy hit rock bottom – he drank too much, was abandoned by his friends, nearly lost his business and became a pariah in the place he had once called home.

Now, six years later, Andy has put his life back together. He’s sold the house he shared with Brie and moved away for a fresh start. When he hears his old house has been bulldozed and a new house built in its place, he’s not bothered. He’s settled with a new partner, Jayne, and life is good.

But Andy’s peaceful world is about to shatter. One day, a woman shows up at his old address, screaming, ‘Where’s my house? What’s happened to my house?’ And then, just as suddenly as she appeared, the woman – who bears a striking resemblance to Brie – is gone. The police are notified and old questions – and dark suspicions – resurface.

Could Brie really be alive after all these years? If so, where has she been? It soon becomes clear that Andy’s future, and the lives of those closest to him, depends on discovering what the hell is going on. The trick will be whether he can stay alive long enough to unearth the answers …


My Review:


Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for a free Advanced Review Copy of this book.

I haven’t read this author before, but the book cover and description pulled me in, so I requested a copy.

[Disclaimer] First up, because the ARC is an uncorrected proof, it’s impossible for me to know whether or not the many issues I found in this copy will be corrected by the time the book publishes, such as mixed up sentences, spelling errors, and–most importantly of all–the overwhelming amount of repetition. The number of times the author repeated whole sections of the story so far is mind numbing. Then we have each character’s relationship followed by their name right up until the end of the book. When you only have one sibling, you don’t need to be told “Your sister, Jayne”. And there simply aren’t that many characters, so it’s way easy to keep track without this level of redundancy. Therefore, this review is based upon the assumption that this will all have been edited out and proof corrected by the time this book goes on sale.

[The Review]:

The book opens with the main character Andy and his wife, Brie. Andy goes away for a guy’s weekend, and when they FaceTime each other, it’s obvious the marriage has its issues. Then something happens to Brie. The next chapter opens six years later and brings us into the aftermath of Brie’s disappearance. Quickly, the narrative moves into a scene where the missing wife is seen by an old neighbour, and this has knock-on effects galore.

I kept thinking I’d worked out whodunnit, but no, the author foiled me every time with some great twists to this plot. As mentioned in the above disclaimer, with the removal of repetition and back story sections, I would say the pacing is fast and the plot intriguing. The read will hold your attention and keep you guessing up until the penultimate moments. Sometimes, I failed to follow some of the reactions and actions of the characters, but on the whole, I connected with the characters, and the whole set-up felt believable and realistic. The ending was wrapped up nicely, and I could see why a certain character had set in motion the things he did. Take Your Breath Away gets 3.5 stars from me, rounded up to 4 for rating purposes.


NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

I’d love to hear what you think of this review. Thanks for stopping by 🙂


For anyone interested, here are the Amazon links …

UK … https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/

US … https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/


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Jacquie Biggar

I think it hurts an author’s work when they put it out too soon. This sounds like it could be a fast-paced read IF they correct the issues you found.
Great review, Harmony.

Diana Peach

The blurb drew me right in, Harmony, but the errors and repeats gave me pause. It doesn’t sound like it’s ready to be sent out even as an unproofed ARC. I hope that the feedback reaches the author and editor because it sounds like a read with lots of potential. Thanks for sharing your review!

Beem Weeks

Wonderful review, Harmony. Thanks for sharing.

Jan Sikes

This sounds like quite a story, Harmony, despite the errors in the ARC that will hopefully be fixed. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this one. Great premise!


This sounds like a tough review, Harmony, but you did a great job. I’m glad you were still open to how good the book could be despite the issues. And it does sound like an enjoyable story. Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us!

Mae Clair

I think minus the issues you noted in the ARC, this would be a read I’d enjoy.
That was a tough to handle, Harmony, but you did a great job. Thanks for sharing!

Staci Troilo

An unedited ARC is tough to assess. You did a great job. The premise of the book sounds really good. I hope they work out all the issues. Thanks, Harmony.

CS Boyack

That’s too bad. Sounds like you enjoyed the story.

Joan Hall

Too bad about the mistakes, but I agree with the others. An ARC should be ready for publication.

I do love the premise of the story and it sounds like it would be a fascinating read minus the mistakes.


I agree with everyone above. An ARC should be ready for publication. Not to do so will provoke poor reviews, surely, and this isn’t what an author wants.
Having said that, the story sounds intriguing. I hope the issues are resolved.
Is this a new author? If so, maybe she doesn’t fully understand what an ARC is for.

Sarah Stuart

Hi Vivienne
This isn’t a new author, unfortunately.
“From the New York Times bestselling author of Find You First and Elevator Pitch”.

Sarah Stuart

Hi Harmony
I agree with the comments that an ARC should be close to publication standard, but I’d add another warning. With the mental proviso that if the problems hadn’t been addressed I would take the unprecedented step of returning my copy, I hit “pre-order” and found the cost was £!4. Ah! The link had led me to the print copy. Change to Kindle, Sarah. NO!!! £9.99 is way OTT, even if the author is hailed as a Best Seller.

Sarah Stuart

Harmony, it wasn’t your fault! You wrote an excellent review with the warning about editing still needed. All my paperbacks are more expensive than I’d like, but pricing a Kindle book that high… I am sometimes tempted by “Best Seller”, but £/$4,99, and often a lot less, is usual. Keep the reviews coming. 🙂

Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Hi Harmony, I am quite surprised that an ARC should have so many errors in it. I expect ARCs to be almost 100% barring a few spelling and punctuation errors. That aside, the story sounds interesting and I enjoyed your review.

D.L. Finn, Author

I love when i keep guessing until the end:) Great review and critique.

Priscilla Bettis

I hope the editing issues are cleared up before publication. Isn’t it fun when a mystery has several good twists?:-) I like the book cover. The text is like a frame for the eye-catching image, and it’s easy to read, too.

john howell

Thanks for sharing your review, Harmony. I have to wonder why an author would want an ARC to be so unprofessional.