Linwood Barclay

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Linwood Barclay
Barclay at the Eden Mills Writers' Festival in 2013
Barclay at the Eden Mills Writers' Festival in 2013
Born1955 (age 65–66)
Darien, Connecticut,
United States of America.[1]
Alma materTrent University
SubjectCrime, humour
Notable worksNo Time For Goodbye; Trust Your Eyes
SpouseNeetha Sands Barclay
ChildrenSpencer Barclay, Paige Barclay [2]

Linwood Barclay (born 1955) is an American-born Canadian author, noted as a novelist, humorist, and (former) columnist. His popular detective novels are bestsellers in Canada and internationally, beginning with No Time for Goodbye in 2007.


Linwood Barclay was born in Darien, Connecticut, son of Muriel and Everett Barclay. His father was a professional illustrator who moved his family to Canada in 1959 where he had accepted a job with William R. Templeton Studios in Toronto. In 1966 the family purchased a vacation campground in Bobcaygeon, Ontario, which they ran for about five years until his father died from lung cancer when Barclay was sixteen.[3]

Barclay recognized his interest in writing detective fiction at an early age, inspired by the works of Ross Macdonald, who had grown up in Kitchener, Ontario.[4] After graduating from high school Barclay studied literature at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, where one of his teachers was the noted novelist Margaret Laurence. While attending university, he began a correspondence with Macdonald that proved inspirational for Barclay. They met once, at which time Macdonald inscribed one of his books to Barclay: "For Linwood, who will, I hope, someday outwrite me".[4]

After graduation with an English literature degree from Trent, he could not sell any of his novels so he found work on a number of local newspapers beginning with the Peterborough Examiner.[3] He subsequently moved to the Toronto Star in 1981. In 1993, following the death of Gary Lautens, he began to write a thrice-weekly humour column for the paper. He also released podcasts of his articles and published three collections: Mike Harris Made Me Eat My Dog, Father Knows Zilch: A Guide for Dumbfounded Dads, and This House Is Nuts!. Between 2004 and 2007, while still writing his column, he published four mystery/comedies, all featuring a sleuth named Zack Walker who works as a newspaper columnist by day. The books were published in the United Kingdom and were modestly successful.[4]

His break came in 2007 when he published No Time for Goodbye. A runaway bestseller in the UK, it quickly sold a million copies there and elsewhere.[4] He took a one-year sabbatical to promote his novel and he had planned to return to the Star in September 2008. But on June 28, 2008, he wrote his last column, announcing his retirement from the newspaper. His 2012 novel Trust Your Eyes was a finalist for the Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read from the UK Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards.[5] At the time of its publication, it was announced that Trust Your Eyes had been optioned by a Hollywood studio. Barclay made the cover of Variety Magazine because of the bidding war it had caused between Universal Studios and Warner Bros..[4][6][3]

Barclay lives in Oakville, Ontario, with his wife of more than three decades, Neetha, with whom he has two children - Spencer and Paige.[3]



  • Last Resort: A Memoir (2000, finalist for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour)


  • Mike Harris Made Me Eat My Dog
  • Father Knows Zilch: A Guide for Dumbfounded Dads
  • This House Is Nuts! : Surviving the Absurdities of Everyday Life


Year Title Publisher Notes
2004 Bad Move Bantam 1st Zack Walker novel
2005 Bad Guys Bantam 2nd Zack Walker novel
2006 Lone Wolf Bantam 3rd Zack Walker novel
2007 Stone Rain Bantam 4th Zack Walker novel
2007 No Time for Goodbye Orion Featured on Richard & Judy's Summer reading list
2008 Too Close to Home Bantam Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel (2009)[7]
2009 Fear the Worst Bantam
2010 Never Look Away Delacorte Press
2011 The Accident Orion
2011 Clouded Vision Orion Quick read
2012 Trust Your Eyes [8] Doubleday Canada ISBN 978-0-385-66957-3. Originally titled 360: A Novel ISBN 978-0-553807950
2013 Never Saw it Coming Orion Based on the novella Clouded Vision. ISBN 978-1409141419 Features characters that appeared in No Time For Goodbye
2013 A Tap on the Window New American Library ISBN 978-0451414182
2014 No Safe House Doubleday Canada ISBN 978-0451414205. Sequel to No Time for Goodbye 2007
2015 Broken Promise New American Library ISBN 978-0451472670. First in the Promise Falls trilogy
2015 Final Assignment Orion A novella e-book
2016 Far From True New American Library ISBN 978-0451472700. Second in the Promise Falls trilogy
2016 The Twenty Three New American Library ISBN 978-0451472724. Third in the Promise Falls trilogy
2017 Parting Shot Orion ISBN 978-1409163930
2017 Chase Puffin Canada ISBN 978-0143198758. First book in the Chase series, written for kids (ages 9+)
2018 Escape Puffin Canada ISBN 978-0143198789. Second book in the Chase series, written for kids (ages 9+)
2018 A Noise Downstairs Doubleday Canada ISBN 978-0385687188
2019 Elevator Pitch William Morrow ISBN 978-0062678287
2021 Find You First William Morrow ISBN 978-0062678317


  1. ^ Linwood Barclay, Orion Books
  2. ^ Author bio Archived 2009-07-29 at the Wayback Machine, Orion Books
  3. ^ a b c d "Biography". Linwood Barclay. Retrieved 20 March 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b c d e Medley, Mark (22 July 2013). "The King of Spooky: Linwood Barclay's rise from suburban dad to Canada's biggest fiction export". Toronto Life. Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ ITV Press Centre (25 October 2013). "Winners unmasked at Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards 2013 on ITV3". ITV Press Centre. Retrieved 19 February 2014
  6. ^ Sneider, Jeff (19 February 2014). "Todd Phillips to direct thriller 'Trust Your Eyes'". Variety. Retrieved 19 February 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ 2009 Arthur Ellis Awards Winners Crime Writers of Canada, (retrieved 11/21/2012)
  8. ^ "Trust Your Eyes". Trailer, Bantam. 2012. p. l. Retrieved 2014-02-18. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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