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Find You First (2021)

by Linwood Barclay

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2371299,006 (3.8)22
The New York Times bestselling author of Elevator Pitch and master of psychological suspense returns with a riveting thriller in which the possible heirs of a dying tech millionaire are mysteriously being eliminated, one by one. "Find You First starts with a bang and ends with an even bigger one. . . . It's the best book of his career."  -- Stephen King Tech millionaire Miles Cookson has more money than he can ever spend, and everything he could dream of--except time. He has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and there is a fifty percent chance that it can be passed on to the next generation. For Miles, this means taking a long hard look at his past . . . Two decades ago, a young, struggling Miles was a sperm donor. Somewhere out there, he has kids--nine of them. And they might be about to inherit both the good and the bad from him--maybe his fortune, or maybe something much worse. As Miles begins to search for the children he's never known, aspiring film documentarian Chloe Swanson embarks on a quest to find her biological father, armed with the knowledge that twenty-two years ago, her mother used a New York sperm bank to become pregnant. When Miles and Chloe eventually connect, their excitement at finding each other is overshadowed by a series of mysterious and terrifying events. One by one, Miles's other potential heirs are vanishing--every trace of them wiped, like they never existed at all. Who is the vicious killer--another heir methodically erasing rivals? Or is something even more sinister going on? It's a deadly race against time . . .… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
This is the first Linwood Barclay book I have read although I've seen him recommended by mystery/thriller fans a lot. It was fun and entertaining but really quite preposterous. Maybe his earlier works are not as over the top but this certainly went down crazy lane by the end. It started off very promising and I liked a lot of the separate storyline threads in the beginning and I did stay interested to find out how it turned out but what a wacky road that was. I would read another book by him to see if this is a trend or anomaly and feel that it would still be an enjoyable read even if not quite my thing. ( )
  JediBookLover | Oct 29, 2022 |
Plot driven thriller by an experienced hand. Too many unlikely twists for me, too neat. The story never gets under your skin, with cliché type jokes and references to contemporary middle-class pre-occupations and of course several types who are filthy rich (both good and bad guys), rendering the story pretty unrealistic for your average readership. The lecherous Prince Andrew could have featured in this one, though. In that sense it was a realistic scenario.

The plot in short: a young tech millionaire hears he has Huntington’s disease and does not want to leave his heritage to his brother, because of his bro’s sicko wife. Rather he goes on a goose chase to find those kids (nine) who have been born of the seed he once donated to a sperm bank. His motives are altruistic: he wants to share his wealth with them, partly out of guilt that he may have passed on the deadly, hereditary disease. Meanwhile the nine names are taken out one after the other – they disappear, while their apartments are either cleaned out or burnt.

Add a filthy rich New York celebrity with a preference for underage sex and a self-perception of an ubermensch to the mix and we have a story worthy of a Hollywood B movie. Of course all loose ties are nicely wrapped up in an exciting climax (an undervalued PA who rips her boss off; a lawyer sister-in-law with her own lust filled, perverse scheme to get hold of the heritage by using her teenage daughter as bait; a corrupt doctor at the sperm bank who likes underage sex as well, etc.). All the bad guys and girls get punished and the streetwise foster daughter and dying millionaire tech guy end up with each other. Too vanilla, not for me. ( )
  alexbolding | Jan 27, 2022 |
I didn't really like this book. I had a hard time believing Jeremy's motivation. ( )
  DidIReallyReadThat | Dec 11, 2021 |
Progeny Hunt
Review of the HarperAudio audiobook (2021) released simultaneously with the William Morrow hardcover (2021)

Find You First was the Audible Daily Deal on September 25, 2021 and after checking reviews and seeing prolific GR reviewer MarilynW's 4-star review, I snapped it up immediately.

The author Linwood Barclay was a popular humour columnist in my hometown's Toronto Star newspaper for the early part of his career until 2008. After the breakthrough success of his 5th novel No Time for Goodbye (2007) he became a full time novelist. I read several of his books in my pre-Goodreads days and remember him as somewhat like Harlan Coben, i.e. the books typically had an ordinary person protagonist who is thrust into the middle of a mysterious situation that they have to resolve. They were formulaic in that way, so although I enjoyed them, I wasn't compelled to read every single book.

Find You First still follows along those lines, although the lead protagonist isn't quite so ordinary. Tech billionaire Miles Cookson is leading a successful life until he discovers he has Huntington's Disease, an incurable neurological affliction that eventually causes death by paralysis. Huntington's is inheritable through a gene received through the parents and Cookson discovers that due to an early life donation to a fertility clinic he may be the biological father to 9 now grown-up children.

Cookson decides to will his estate to his biological progeny and sets out to find them in order to alert them to their possibly inherited genetic threat. Unfortunately someone else is also on the hunt and we are thrust into a cat and mouse game of Cookson & his allies versus a pair of cold-blooded contract killers. There are plenty of suspicious characters and actions along the way as Cookson's other family & in-laws and co-workers become suspects. You think you know what the motive is behind the killings but there is a major twist that comes along to change that.

Find You First was well constructed, even though the whole situation was quite unrealistic. The narration by George Newbern in all voices was excellent throughout. ( )
  alanteder | Oct 7, 2021 |
The new "WORLD'S GREATEST STAIRCASE SCENE EVER"....I have read a few Linwood Barclay novels in the past, and have thoroughly enjoyed each one. He has always delivered great plots, interesting characters, excellent prose, and just the right degree of tension. Each time I’ve put one down, I resolve to read another, soon – and never do. Why? Whywhywhy? Well, generally I don’t usually enjoy stand-alone novels. I’m mostly into crime fiction series…Ian Rankin, William Shaw, Mark Billingham, Deon Meyer. And spy fiction series. So I go years sometimes before returning to Barclay and a few others. Maybe I won’t wait so long next time. Not after “Find You First” (FYF). I happened to read a plot summary. I can’t resist a list of targeted victims; I was hooked. I’m ashamed to admit I even liked the killers. Can’t wait to see who will play them in the movie.

I assume you know the plot. A millionaire exec is told he has a terminal disease, an especially debilitating one. Years ago he was a sperm donor, multiple times. He wants to connect with “the kids”. So does someone else.

I haven’t read many books this year that I was anxious to pick up and get back to. FYF is the big exception, not because of any big cliff-hangers, nor cheap thrills. Just very good writing. No stupid twists, just plausible surprises and misdirections, and lots of suspects. FYF made up for a lot of big name 2021 disappointments and some over-hyped yawners in the first half. I’m sure there’s another Barclay out there for me to do the same in the last six months of the year.

So, after you put FYF down for the last time, tell me you’re not going to see the movie, because as we both know, we just can’t miss that scene coming down the staircase….. ( )
  maneekuhi | Jul 8, 2021 |
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The New York Times bestselling author of Elevator Pitch and master of psychological suspense returns with a riveting thriller in which the possible heirs of a dying tech millionaire are mysteriously being eliminated, one by one. "Find You First starts with a bang and ends with an even bigger one. . . . It's the best book of his career."  -- Stephen King Tech millionaire Miles Cookson has more money than he can ever spend, and everything he could dream of--except time. He has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and there is a fifty percent chance that it can be passed on to the next generation. For Miles, this means taking a long hard look at his past . . . Two decades ago, a young, struggling Miles was a sperm donor. Somewhere out there, he has kids--nine of them. And they might be about to inherit both the good and the bad from him--maybe his fortune, or maybe something much worse. As Miles begins to search for the children he's never known, aspiring film documentarian Chloe Swanson embarks on a quest to find her biological father, armed with the knowledge that twenty-two years ago, her mother used a New York sperm bank to become pregnant. When Miles and Chloe eventually connect, their excitement at finding each other is overshadowed by a series of mysterious and terrifying events. One by one, Miles's other potential heirs are vanishing--every trace of them wiped, like they never existed at all. Who is the vicious killer--another heir methodically erasing rivals? Or is something even more sinister going on? It's a deadly race against time . . .

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