Linwood Barclay’s No Safe House: Family First? (Book Review)

Revisiting a previous story isn’t ‘typical’ Linwood Barclay, but in No Safe House, he picks up the story of Terry and Cynthia Archer from No Time For Goodbye. Previously, the Archers worked with a criminal named Vince to find out the truth behind Cynthia’s past and the disappearance of the Archer’s daughter, Grace. Now, the three find themselves drawn into a series of break-ins and murders after Grace and her boyfriend attempt to joyride a stolen car. Want a thrilling, emotion-thumping ride?

I’ve enjoyed every Barclay thriller I’ve read (Tap on the Window was just a month ago), and his ability to blend the ongoing criminal activities with realistic familial interactions and emotions makes it deeper than a run-of-the-mill crime caper. We see the aftereffects of the previous book as they impact the Archers’ marriage, and their ability to parent; we see that Vince’s life has been shattered by those events, but that his desire to be more like Terry has grown.

Overall, there are a few themes, some more obvious than others. Grace does typical teenage acting out, but she falls into that category of teen who discovers that there are things that go bump in the night, with consequences to boot. Terry proves that family comes before anything else, risking safety, public perception, his job, etc. all in the name of taking care of his daughter. Criminals who dance over the bold lines find that the violence they perpetuate catches up with them sooner or later.

Fans of Harlan Coben will like this less-wisecrack-focused mystery/thriller, that has more of a hook at the end than some of Barclay’s other novels. It ultimately asks us to consider what we would do for love and honor, and who we let into our family even if they’re not biological. Maybe it’s the continuation of the Archers’ storyline that makes it deeper than some, but whatever it is, Barclay provides a pulse-pounding thriller that makes for a great summer read.



About Jacob Sahms

I'm searching for hope in the midst of the storms, raising a family, pastoring a church, writing on faith and film, rooting for the Red Sox, and sleeping occasionally. Find me at,, and the brand new
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