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Bad Move (Zack Walker #1)

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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  1,711 ratings  ·  193 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
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Paperback, 416 pages
Published April 26th 2005 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2004)
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William Arsenis
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
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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
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Shonna Froebel
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
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Kirsty Shark
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
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Stacia
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.
Ana
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 ma ...more
Eric Wright
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
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Tammy
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.
Julie Mestdagh
My first encounter with author Linwood Barclay has proven an interesting one. "Bad move" is the first novel Barclay has ever written and for a debut, it is actually very good. Clever dialogues and righteously funny situations are the strength of this novel. I found myself more than once grinning while reading certain paragraphs.

The story is about your average US family - father, mother and 2 kids - who move from downtown big city to the suburbs because paranoia dad sees danger around every corn
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Cathy Cole
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 d ...more
Mike
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.
Phil
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..
Counsel182
It's a "fun read"....it's not Tolstoy, Dostoevsky or even Jonathan Franzen but delightful entertainment. It is character driven chiefly by the protagonist and other characters simply stereotypes but probably people we might actually come across in "suburbia" without ( hopefully) their sordid backgrounds. It was a good read for "escapism" particularly as my family ponders our own move--which hopefully is "a good one." I gave the book only three stars as the plot after having some funny episodes t ...more
Katrina
I had a hard time getting into this book. I likened it to a hotdog...lots of filler and little of the good stuff. It did pick up a bit around the 20th chapter, but it required a lot of slow slugging to get to that point. When it took off, though, it really took off and proceeded to go way over the top. I did rather enjoy the humour in his writing, however, no one, and I mean no one could ever have that much bad luck and stumble onto that many criminals. And just when you think it's over, another ...more
Michael
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.
Shauna
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.
Barbara
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.
Les Edgerton
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.
Naomi
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
A really good book. 1st of his I've read and can't wait to read the next in this great series.
Sharon Holford

Did Elmore Leonard use another name?????? At first I think he's too wordy and I was a little impatient with him. And secondly, I thought ....I don't know, should I continue?? Glad I did. My reference to Elmore Leonard is because of how seriously the character takes himself, then how stupid he is........then just how funny the whole thing is. Just who does the "hero" think he is? Then, why doesn't he realize how much trouble he's causing and getting himself into, and finally, how is he going to
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Elizabeth
This is a very silly book. It's one of those average-man-gets-caught-up-in-events-beyond-his-ability-to-handle kinds of plots. It was annoying, especially in the beginning because this man, Zack, shares some annoying traits with my husband. Zack, however, is way more annoying than my husband. Zack is ultra security conscious. So much so that when his wife comes home from work and then the grocery story, she's burdened by her briefcase and grocery bags and manages to one-handedly unlock the front ...more
Wilton314
Bad Move is an enjoyable read. It is the first in a series of novels by Linwood Barclay featuring Zack Walker, a stay at home Dad, self professed geek and science fiction novelist with writer's block. I discovered this series only recently, having already enjoyed his more recent works. For me it was not up to the grit your teeth suspense in his more recent novels but that is understandable as Barclay has continued to refine his trade since Bad Moves. Bad Move is more of a caper akin to anything ...more
Robert Palmer
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
Linda Ostrom
This was the most entertaining book I have read in awhile. It was full of dry humour and is written in what I call "Canadian Speak" Zack Walker is a Science Fiction novel writer. He is always very worried about safety and goes to great lengths to make sure his family is safe, even if it means faking accidents to prove his point.

One day he was shopping with his wife and noticed that she left her purse in the buggy. He decided to teach her a lesson by taking her purse but it started a whole chain
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Karen
BAD MOVE LINWOOD BARCLAY
Zack Walker is a self-confessed jerk. Okay a stronger word was used but I will be polite. In his paranoia about safety and security he moves his family out to the burbs for peace, quiet and gain some sanity-yah right! Zack is a man obsessed with safety and security. He repeatedly plays tricks on the family as object lessons. i.e. hiding cars and staging a fall that is referred to as the backpack incident. Zack finds the body of a environmentalist bludgeoned beside the cre
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Marni
I saw Linwood's books recommended before I went to the library, so I decided to check him out; literally and figuratively, as it were. I am now on a loose sort of 'if I don't like the book in the first 50 pages, tough luck' sort of philosophy, and I have to say that I was not caught up in this book at first. The narrator, who calls himself an asshole, was pretty much an asshole, and I was wondering why I was dealing spending time with him. But then the book got better, and better, and better yet ...more
Lise
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 appris ...more
Dave
After reading two other books by Linwood Barclay, and rating them both four stars, I knew I would enjoy reading some more by the same author. So, I went back to his first novel, Bad Move and read it. I was very disappointed. Although Barclay has a wry and amusing sense of humour, this book dragged very badly. I kept wanting to quit reading it halfway through, mainly because the protagonist, Zach Walker, really annoyed me. The book was written in the first person and was filled with overly long i ...more
Peacejanz
The first Linwood Barclay novel, Bad Move, is a fun mad dash through life with an over-cautious writer of science fiction. To teach his wife a lesson, he grabs her purse (left alone when she is looking at something else) out of the shopping cart, dashes with it out to the car, hides it in the trunk, and runs back in. Later in the car, he asks her how she paid with the groceries. She points out that she is wearing a fanny pack with her wallet inside.
This is not a spoiler -- the writer decides to
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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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More about Linwood Barclay...

Other Books in the Series

Zack Walker (4 books)
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  • Lone Wolf
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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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