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Bad Move (Zack Walker #1)

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  2,235 Ratings  ·  245 Reviews
In the too-quiet town of Oakwood, only the lucky die of boredom... and new homeowner Zack Walker isn’t feeling lucky. Whoever said the burbs were boring will think twice after reading Linwood Barclay’s hilarious debut mystery, in which Dad learns the hard way that he doesn’t always know best.

Zack wouldn’t blame you for thinking he’s safety-obsessed. True, he masterminded a
Paperback, 416 pages
Published April 26th 2005 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2004)
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William Arsenis
Sep 27, 2012 William Arsenis rated it really liked it
BAD MOVE started off way too slow. Normally, I'd stop reading a book like this after the first chapter. But this was the debut novel of a currently successful author with a following, and it was published by Bantam, no less.

So my curiosity was piqued.

His prose is very good, but a bit too wordy for my taste. He doesn't lose himself in unnecessary descriptions, but when I'm reading a boring passage and it's not immediately clear to me why this has to be in the book, I tend to think of what other t
I made it about 75% through this book, realized it was a chore more than a pleasure, and decided to stop reading. One of my least favorite plots is "someone does something stupid, then does something even more stupid to cover up the first thing, and then the whole thing snowballs out of his control." This book just wasn't for me.
Maureen DeLuca
Sep 25, 2016 Maureen DeLuca rated it did not like it
DNF- I tried and tried to get thru this and I just couldn't ... I really like Linwood Barclay as an author- I kept picking this book up, putting it down, going back to it, then I just couldn't do it. Maybe if I see the 2nd book in this series at my library, I'll pick it up- there are so many 'good' reviews of this book and this series- it just may be worth giving it another shot.... *sigh*
Shonna Froebel
Jun 08, 2015 Shonna Froebel rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian, mystery
Having read Barclay's latest, I wanted to read one of his earlier, more humorous mystery books to get a feel for it. I am glad to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Zack Walker is a science fiction writer that used to write for newspapers and whose wife, Sarah, still does. Having seen crime rise in their downtown city neighbourhood and concerned for their teen children, Paul and Angie, the family has recently moved to the suburbs. Zack is still a bit hung up on safety issues, creating scenarios to
Aug 18, 2012 Ana rated it really liked it
This book was an excellent combination of humor and mystery. Zack Walker, a safety-conscious science fiction writer moves to the 'burbs with his wife and two teenage kids, only to become entangled in a local crime. His focus on demonstrating to his wife and children the safety and security error of their ways is both funny and relatable (at least being married to my husband). In contrast to many amateur sleuths, Zack is properly terrified and freaked out by the mess he finds himself in, which ...more
Terri Lynn
I recently discovered Linwood Barclay through his most recent book and have been reading backwards to catch up on his previous books. This is one of his earlier ones and you can tell the difference.

This book had a lot more humor in it than the later ones but I grew annoyed at the author spending pages trying to prove that the protagonist Zach is an asshole. Why? Well, before moving to the suburbs, Zach was very safety conscious and apparently his wife and teen son and daughter are complete idio
Cathy Cole
Aug 16, 2014 Cathy Cole rated it it was amazing
How good is Bad Move? I took it out to the pool and didn't stop reading-- and laughing-- until I'd finished it. Zack Walker may be a self-professed jerk, but he's an endearing one. All he wants to do is keep his family safe. He thinks the exact same things I think-- when I see a woman walk off leaving her open purse in her shopping cart at the grocery store for example-- but he has the bravery (or perhaps stupidity) to follow through on those thoughts. Naturally every well-intentioned thing he ...more
Eric Wright
Apr 20, 2015 Eric Wright rated it really liked it
Zack Walker, klutz extraordinaire, moves his family from a high crime city neighbourhood to the suburb of Oakwood where boredom is the order of the day. His kids object to losing their friends. His wife has to drive farther to her city reporter's job. But he can work at home as a writer of science fiction. Then everything seems to go wrong.

His house shows the signs of a Gerry builder. He stumbles on the body of the local environmentalist face down in the creek he sought to save.

In another of his
Sep 10, 2016 Sunnie rated it really liked it
First in the Zach Walker series. Entertaining and funny. T here was one plot element that had Zach making such a monumentally stupid decision that it nearly lost me. However, things picked up after that and I was able to get past it. Not bad for a first novel. I shall read more in the future
Kirsty Shark
Sep 13, 2011 Kirsty Shark rated it really liked it
Very easy reading. I really liked the characters in this book and their dialogue. Zach is a bit of a Homer Simpson family man, he has a heart of gold but sometimes he ends up acting like an asshole and its some of his brainless decisions that get the wacky plot set in motion. There's a lot of humour here and I loved how the relationships within the family were written with plenty of sarcasm and attitude.

That being said the murder mystery element to this book isn't something which will appeal to
Oct 26, 2010 Tammy rated it liked it
I didn't love this book but I didn't hate it either. It was just kind of blah with sporadic funny parts. The main character is overly obsessed with safety (he's constantly telling his wife and teenage children to lock the house door, remember to turn off the stove, don't talk to strangers, etc). Sometimes he gives them little "lessons" on safety which I thought were pretty funny. It's one of those "lessons" that gets him into a heap of trouble.

It has a lot of swearing.
Lois Duncan
Mar 28, 2011 Lois Duncan rated it really liked it
So far I haven't read a single novel by Linwood Barclay that I would rate less than four stars. This one was slightly different from the others I've read because, not only was it a mystery, filled with multiple clever twists and turns, but it was FUNNY! I love the way he plants tiny details throughout the book that the reader doesn't take any note of, but when things come together each one turns out to have been an important piece of the whole.
May 05, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-humorous
This is the first in a series of semi-humorous mystery\thrillers from this author whose has also written a number of stand alone thrillers. Once again, his storyboard and pacing are the best I ever read. He really knows how to take a number of seemingly unrelated events\character traits and bring them all together in a most remarkable way. This book has one very funny\ironic ending and then a twist at the end. Highly recommended.
Jan 06, 2010 Phil rated it it was ok
Well, I wanted to be annoyed by this book; You know the guy who always does the most stupid thing in any situation? This book is about that. But I kept reading until the end (I was stuck on a plane). It had it's moments, but I guess I wouldn't recommend it - there is so much other good stuff out there..
Les Edgerton
Jun 05, 2011 Les Edgerton rated it it was amazing
Read this a long time ago and loved it and just reread it and guess what? I love it even more. Mr. Barclay isn't capable of writing anything but a page-turner. This one has it all--humor and suspense and tension--he's simply a master.
Aug 26, 2010 Barbara rated it it was ok
An actual excerpt: "First of all, I'm not, unlike a police detective, in a line of work where finding a victim of foul play is a common occurrence, unless you know something about science fiction authors that I don't." Yes, that was one sentence.
Jul 28, 2009 Michael rated it liked it
Thoroughly competent.

This book shares a flaw with many mysteries: The first half is almost entirely character development, and the second half is almost entirely plot.

That said, the character half is very funny. The plot half was less well done, but entertaining.
May 29, 2013 Shauna rated it really liked it
The thing I liked best about this book was the voice. It was as though Zach, the main character, was right here talking to me. I felt like I knew him. I found the extent of his paranoia a bit unbelievable, but overall I really enjoyed the plot and the book.
Nov 13, 2009 Naomi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the funniest book I have read in years. It so predictable as to what happens which is for some reason even funnier.
Fiona (Titch) Hunt
Jun 11, 2011 Fiona (Titch) Hunt rated it really liked it
A really good book. 1st of his I've read and can't wait to read the next in this great series.
Nov 20, 2016 Katherine rated it did not like it
Got to page 155 and stopped....too stupid to hold my interest. The main character is a doofus that cannot get out of his own way and that behavior is annoying rather than entertaining to me. I don't feel badly about closing the book. Zack is too much of a let down to be interesting
Steve Thompson
Nov 07, 2016 Steve Thompson rated it it was ok
Story line started out slow but interesting ending
Oct 21, 2016 Tyea rated it did not like it
DNF. The main character is an idiot.
Kate McDougall Sackler
Oct 13, 2016 Kate McDougall Sackler rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclub
Silly comedy of errors that left me giggling. Dad learns his lesson by the end. The solving of the second crime, while it does tie up loose ends felt a little forced. Great first effort!
Jastinder Toor
Oct 12, 2016 Jastinder Toor rated it liked it
meh.... i was quick to read...some funny party. But the main character was an ass... he was to much.
Oct 10, 2016 Patty rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclub
A quick read, while I wouldn't really call it suspenseful, I found it quite humorous. Enjoyable book.
Oct 05, 2016 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zach is a great character. Humor and cozy mystery wrapped in one great series and this is the first in the series.
Dec 27, 2013 Lise rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thrillers
Having discovered Linwood Barclay's later thrillers, this wacky debut mystery/thriller was not a surprise. Zack Walker is a former reporter turned writer of sci-fi novels. He's a family man with a long-suffering wife and two teenage kids, a son and a daughter. They're long-suffering too, because Zack has a problem. OCD, to be precise. But he's also inherited his father's fatalistic gene that predicts that anything that can go wrong will go wrong, so Zack feels compelled to keep his family ...more
Sep 18, 2016 Wendy rated it liked it
An amusing first novel
Robert Palmer
Aug 10, 2013 Robert Palmer rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars. In the beginning I wasn't sure if this was a mystery or a comedy of errors ( in judgement ) ----it is both. Zack Walker is a stay at home Dad who writes S/F novels,he also has a collection of S/F gadgets ,spaceships,laser guns etc.( he is also good at digging himself into very deep holes) his wife Sarah works for the newspaper in the city (i don't know what city) Zack is rather neurotic about safety issues in and around the house,this is why he has moved his family to the suburbs,he ...more
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Linwood Barclay is the #1 internationally bestselling author of thirteen novels, including Trust Your Eyes, A Tap on the Window, No Time for Goodbye and that novel's followup, No Safe House.
This summer, his thriller Broken Promise, the first of three linked novels about his fictional upstate New York town Promise Falls, will be released. Book two will come nine months later, and another nine month
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“up, going to the living room window, looking through the blinds to Earl’s place. At any moment, I expected to see a fleet of Ladas with Russian mobsters pull into the driveway, guns a-blazin’. Or maybe the cops, driving up on the lawn, pouring out of their cars in riot gear, guns drawn, surrounding the house. Tear gas is lobbed in. Men in gas masks break down the door, and moments later, Earl is dragged out by an officer on either side of him, thrown facedown onto the driveway, his hands cuffed together behind his back. Men in spacesuits start hauling out hundreds of plants and packing them into the back of a specially sealed van. But nothing like that happened. The housecoat” 0 likes
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