Member Reviews

My thanks to H.Q and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read ‘I Will Ruin You’ written by Linwood Barclay in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

For Richard Boyle, an English teacher at Lodge High School, it’s an ordinary day as he discusses a novel with his students. Suddenly he sees a man walking towards the school wearing a vest with pockets that appear to be holding what looks very much like sticks of dynamite. Richard shouts to his students to barricade themselves in and ring 911 while he goes to confront the man, a former student called Mark LeDrew. Just as Richard manages to persuade him to walk back out of the building, Mark trips on his own shoelace and the dynamite explodes. Mark dies but luckily Richard escapes unharmed apart from minor cuts and bruises, but this is just the beginning of a nightmare as another student takes the opportunity to start a blackmail campaign against Richard for a past event that Richard knew nothing about.

Wow, what a fantastic thriller Mr Barclay has written! I’ve just come to the end of ‘I Will Ruin You’ and from the very beginning the suspense was so taut I had to keep closing my eyes afraid of what was going to happen next yet knowing I had to open them to read. The plot is intricately woven with compelling characters, dramatic twists and turns, and red herrings thrown in confuse and sent me in the wrong direction. By the time I neared the end I was breathless with built-up tension, but I wasn’t prepared for the final chapter that was unexpected and took me completely by surprise. Mr Barclay writes with a brilliant turn of phrase that makes it easy to read and impossible to put down, and I was totally gripped from the first page to the last. I was so involved in the story and characters that I devoured this amazing thriller in a day and can thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys an action-packed thriller.

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How would you react in a life-or-death situation? It's a question everyone asks themselves, but few have to face in real life. English teacher Richard Boyle certainly never thought he would find himself talking down a former student intent in harming others, but when Mark Le Drew shows up at Richard's school with a bomb strapped to his chest, Richard immediately jumps into action. Thanks to some quick thinking, he averts a major tragedy and is hailed as a hero, but not all the attention focused on him is positive. Richard's brief moment in the spotlight puts him in the sights of a deranged blackmailer with a score to settle.

I'm a huge fan of Linwood Barclay, and although this is a good read, it's not one of his best books. English teacher Richard Boyle quickly goes from hero to a man getting sued by the parents of the school bomber. This is a fast-paced twisted story with some great and well-rounded characters. There are some far=fetched scenes, so you have to suspend your belief while reading those parts. The story includes - suicide, gun violence and sexual abuse.

Published 1st August 2024

I would like to thank #NetGalley #HQStories and the author #LinwoodBarclay for my ARC of #IWillRuinYou in exchange for an honest review.

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English teacher Richard Boyle does one good deed that turns his life upside down.
He stops a school bombing, but unfortunately for him the bomber dies and he’s life unravels. He’s sued by the parents of the bomber and is dragged into a blackmailing scandal that could ruin him.
It’s the most bizarre time of his life and he needs to find a way out of his precarious situation, but with roadblocks in his way, can he save himself from disaster or will this turn out to be the worst example of a good deed gone wrong?
I have to say Linwood Barclay has excelled himself with this book. I’ve read all his work and this sits right at the top of the pile.
It’s funny, tense and has an ending that you never see coming. Also the characters are brilliant, this really is a fantastic story and one I’d highly recommend.

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Linwood Barclay's latest suspenseful thriller focuses on the life of an ordinary, dedicated school teacher in Hartford, Connecticut, Richard Boyle, who is about to plunge into the seemingly bottomless depths of darkness and nightmares as he learns no good deed goes unpunished. Richard is in the midst of teaching Cormac McCarthy's unsettling The Road, when he dashes out the door, telling his students to barricade themselves in and call the police. He rushes to the entrance doors, engaging with a disturbed former pupil intent on death and destruction, he manages to defuse the situation, only for the young man to trip over his unlaced shoelaces and tragically end up dying.

Richard becomes an overnight sensation, a hero, receiving widespread TV coverage. He is spotted by Billy Finster, a baggage handler involved in criminal drug activities. Billy gets in touch with Richard, with accusations that shake him to the core, struggling to cope with Billy's blackmail demands. He knows he is not guilty, but he cannot guarantee that others will believe him. There are tensions in the family home with his wife Bonnie, and his young daughter, Rachel, suddenly develops a passion for bugs. He talks to the Principal, Trent, getting support, but should he open up to his sister-in-law, Marta, a Milford police detective? There is more, including a troublesome colleague, lawsuits, and the contemporary issue of book banning raises its ugly head.

Barclay as an experienced thriller writer knows how to keep reader turning the pages right up to exciting conclusion, there are twists and turns galore, and a desperate and fraught central character, whose life is spiralling way out of his control, you cannot help but invest in a Richard who only wants to be left alone to teach. Perhaps there was a little too much going on in the narrative, but even so, I can see this appealing to many of the author's fans and to readers new to him. As always, I look forward to his next book with great anticipation! Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.

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Linwood Barclay is one of my favourite thriller authors and is definitely an auto-read for me. Sadly, this one is far from his best although still an enjoyable read - his usual brilliance has set the bar incredibly high!

The opening chapters were gripping. Teacher Richard Boyle encounters an old student who has come into the school wearing a suicide bomb. In talking him down, Richard is hailed a hero, but when another old student sees him on the TV, he begins a blackmail campaign against him, which is further fuelled by a jealous colleagues efforts to encourage disgruntled parental complaints against him.

After the initial drama, the plot became messy and contrived, and I struggled to stay engaged.

2.5 ⭐️ Thanks to Netgalley, Linwood Barclay and HQ for an ARC in return for an honest review.

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Wow! Talk about a twisty, adrenaline filled read.
Teacher Richard Boyle is giving a lesson about The Road, when he sees something out of the corner of his eye. This turns out to be an ex-pupil with explosives strapped to him.
In talking the ex-pupil down and saving the school, Richard inadvertently becomes the target of a blackmailer, and embroiled in some very bad stuff. The tale unravels at breakneck speed, and with a plot twist every few pages. It feels a bit mad in places, but that’s not unexpected for a Linwood Barclay novel. Just jump in and enjoy the ride.
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC

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Linwood Barclay has done it again! A fantastic, fast paste thriller that had me on the edge of my seat. Packed full of twists and turns, I could not put it down.

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This novel is definitely a winner—dynamic and punchy. It has a fast-moving plot, and I couldn’t put it down. Despite the horror unfolding, the dry humour and wit employed are admirable. There was so much happening to confuse the reader. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop throughout. The plot was superbly orchestrated – sheer genius.

A troubled former school pupil has unfinished business with several staff members and scores he needs to settle. A teacher, Richard Boyle, heroically confronts him, but everything spins out of control. Then, the fallout begins.

After the shock of the incident, the blame game starts with recriminations from all involved. Why? Was it handled well? What ifs, and who is culpable? The author Quotes: “Pure dime-store psychology.” While everyone attempts to normalise, an opportunist lurks, intent on destroying Richard, which introduces a secondary theme of the local distribution of deadly opioids. A riveting, tense ending ensues before all the pieces of the jigsaw fit together.
Thank you to Net Galley and HQ

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The opening scene is tense and attention grabbing. School teacher Richard Boyle spots an ex-student approaching the school in a manner that strongly suggests he intends to do harm. He’s got to act quickly and decisively, or this could end catastrophically. A scene plays out that is both dramatic and sad, and which throws suspicion on at least one member of the school staff for historic deeds, which most likely prompted this act.

In the aftermath of this event, Richard returns to the school to what might be described as a mixed reception. In the background, one teacher in particular seems to be plotting against him. But then Richard is faced by a second major challenge as he is confronted – out of school – by a former student who accuses him of historic misdeeds. This scenario, too, has potential for things to end disastrously for both him and his family.

A group of bad actors involved in drug dealing and Richard’s sister-in-law, a cop, are now added to the pot. What follows is a complex series of events, in which Richard makes a series of poor decisions. In addition, to make the story work and to keep the reader guessing, the author asks us to accept quite a number of unlikely co-incidences and swallow a series of misdirections. In truth, I found this all to be pretty unconvincing and highly contrived. Added to this, I was pretty sure from very early on that I knew who would turn out to be the mysterious baddy lurking in the background (I was proven to be right).

So, for me, this was a story that started brightly but then deteriorated into an elaborately conceived but improbable jumble that really made little sense. It just didn’t feel real. On the upside, the pace of the story, as well as a constant sense of threat and urgency, was well maintained throughout. On this basis it’s a three star rating from me (which might just be a little on the generous side).

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Linwood Barclay is one on my favourite authors and I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up one of his books before even reading the blurb. His newest thriller certainly didn’t disappoint. I absolutely loved it from the first page to the last. It had a great bunch of characters and so many twists and turns. Absolutely brilliant book

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“I Will Ruin You” is a standalone novel by author Linwood Barclay that is full of action and suspense. Right from the first chapter when high school teacher Richard Boyle is faced with his former student, Mark LeDrew who shows up at school with a bomb strapped to his chest. Richard is depicted as the hero when his quick thinking manages to stop a major catastrophe.

The book starts at a high level of suspense and keeps going. In my opinion this is one of those novels when it doesn’t pay to think too much about the amount hard to believe events and just accept and enjoy. The action doesn’t stop and I found it very entertaining.

Despite been recognised as an hero Richard is still going to have problems with pending lawsuits and blackmail to mention just two.

The novel is fast paced and full of action, suspense, twists and even humour.

I would like to thank both Netgalley and HQ for supplying a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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Richard Boyle is hailed a hero for stopping an old pupil from blowing up the school, form there it spirals down (for the reader up). Accusations, drugs and murder. Plenty of plot twists to make your head spin. Linwood doesn't disappoint. Thanks to HarperCollins UK and Netgalley for this review copy.

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Another brilliant thriller from Linwood Barclay, this was tense and thrilling and I couldn't put it down! Lots of twists and turns and shocks! Great ending too.

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Another great read from Linwood Barclay. What you think might be a typical High School disaffected student/massacre story turns into something completely unexpected.
With plenty of twists which you don’t always see coming, this kept me engaged and interested right through to its highly satisfying conclusion.

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I loved this book. Love the author and not read one of his books for ages. I love the way he writes his characters and the way he seems to be able to describe what's going on without over explaining or going into too much detail. It did however end abruptly I thought but I could have kept reading it for another 100+ pages. Off to find another of hiss books. 😁❤️📚

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I Will Ruin You - Linwood Barclay

All Thriller and definitely NO FILLER!

This was by far and away my favourite Linwood Barclay title - and it doesn’t let up until the very last line.

Packed full of punch, this twisty mind meddling novel heaps drama upon drama….moving seamlessly from one tight spot to the next without any pause in between.

Read it in two sittings, because once you start - you can’t stop!

Thanks to NetGalley for my ARC - it was pure brilliance!

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I Will Ruin You by Linwood Barclay is yet another highly accomplished novel by the author.
Richard Boyle, an English teacher, spots an old pupil acting suspiciously on entering the school and manages to avert a major tragedy when the bomb strapped to Mark LeDrew detonates and only kills Mark.
After that Richard is hailed a hero and also an abuser and is now being blackmailed by another old pupil. This then leads to drug dealing by yet another old pupil and all the secrets and lies then come to a head when various people are murdered, some innocent and some not.
A fast paced thriller that readers of Linwood Barclay are used to reading, with plenty of deaths, lies and secrets all to be uncovered.
Highly recommended

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Loved this book. A microcosm of small town America and what's hidden under the surface. A hero can be a hero to one person but a figure of hate to another, depending on your views, beliefs or prejudices; conscious or otherwise.

This book makes you question your own thoughts, what's right and what's wrong and why you believe something is so. Also it's just a damn good family, thriller story to read with lots of twists, turns and omg moments.

Thank you again for another 'must read' book.

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With Linwood Barclay books, you know you are guaranteed a thrilling ride, this one is no exception.

Richard Boyle faces his share of troubles and turmoil throughout this book as the reader is taken on the rollercoaster of this ride alongside him. His world is turned upside down with problems coming at him from every direction. No sooner than one gets solved than another comes around the corner. Life as a teacher is always lived on a knife edge of ‘what if’s’ and Richard is certainly getting his fair share of cuts here!

Running alongside this seems to be another completely separate story, with a whole new set of characters and circumstances, a different world. I couldn’t see how they would come together as one story but of course Linwood Barclay can make that happen!

The characterisation is quite strong, particularly with Richard, his wife Rachel and sister-in-law Marta. Great to see strong women holding their own!

There is not much more that can be said without spoiling the plot, a pacy book.

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When teacher Richard Boyle acts without thinking at school he diverts a tragedy. Unfortunately, it puts him in the spotlight and leads to a series of shocking events out of his control.

When I read The Lie Maker in July 2023 I couldn't believe it had been such a long time since I'd read one of Linwood Barclay's thrillers. Having enjoyed The Lie Maker so much I jumped at the chance to read and review the author's latest novel, I Will Ruin You.

The heart-stopping opening chapter really sets the tone for the nightmare situation teacher Richard Boyle finds himself in. Richard is a well-respected high school English teacher, he treats his students as young adults and challenges their thinking. During one of his lessons, he spots a man heading for the side door into the building. Without giving thought to his own safety he heads out to intercept the intruder. It turns out the intruder is a former student with a grievance against some of the staff and he's determined to make them pay.

A school intruder, intent on harm, is the nightmare that every teacher, student and parent must have considered at some point. The opening chapter builds on that fear, showing how easily it could happen, particularly if the intruder is an ex-student with knowledge of the building. As staff and students go into panic mode Richard manages to keep a calm head, despite the adrenaline flooding his system, and talks them out of their planned attack.

In the aftermath of the event, a TV crew shows the school on the local news and this triggers memories for another past student who decides to seek retribution for the abuse he suffered in school. This sets off a nightmare journey for Richard Boyle.

Richard is adamant he's innocent of the accusations and it is very easy to put yourself in his shoes. How do you prove your innocence? Richard has to decide whether to stand his ground or pay off his accuser simply to make the accusations disappear. At the back of his mind is the thought that "mud sticks".

There are quite a few sub-plots within the story which all add to the tension. As these plots converge the terror for Richard Boyle intensifies and lots of secrets are revealed.

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