"Trust Your Eyes" (New American Library), Linwood Barclay
Linwood Barclay's latest novel, "Trust Your Eyes," delivers shocks and surprises at every turn.
Thomas Kilbride is a schizophrenic who loves maps. He obsesses over a new computer program called Whirl360.com that lets him spend every waking moment wandering up and down the streets of the world. He has memorized the tiniest details of all the major metropolises, and has examined various images on his computer screen.
When his father dies, his brother Ray comes to help take care of him. Ray had no idea how much time Thomas spends on the computer and how far from reality he has gone. Thomas tells Ray there is a computer virus coming that will eliminate all the maps in the world and that he's working with the CIA and former President Bill Clinton to memorize the world before the end comes.
Ray realizes Thomas needs professional help. Then Thomas sees what appears to be a murder captured on one of the images. Even though the images were taken months earlier, Ray agrees to investigate. Then the image vanishes from the computer's server and one of the software programmers for Whirl360.com is found dead. Thomas and Ray soon find themselves deeply involved in a conspiracy that has major political and global implications.
Barclay takes a big gamble relying on a character with obvious mental deficiencies and hinging the plot on a complex computer program. But it works. The novel resonates with heart and a surprising lack of technological terms. The reader cares about the people involved, and the mystery gets more strange and puzzling as the story progresses.
"Trust Your Eyes" is one of the best thrillers of the year.