Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay (Book Summary)

Derek Cutter and Adam Langley are bestfriends and neighbors. When Adam and his parents went on a vacation for a week, Derek decided to use their basement. Since the Langleys will not be around, he can use the basement to spend time with his girlfriend, Penney.

When the Langleys left and Derek was already getting everything ready for him and Penney – something went wrong. First, Penney told him that she got grounded because she damaged their car. Second, the Langleys came home unexpectedly because Donna (Adam’s mom) was not feeling well. Derek was trapped in the basement because he doesn’t know how to explain why he is hiding. Worst of it all, there was suddenly a knock on the door. Based on what Derek heard, Albert Langley (Adam’s Dad) answered the door and got into an argument. Then, there was a gunshot. Next, he heard Donna’s (Adam’s Mom) footsteps, and there was another gunshot. Lastly, he heard Adam trying to run away but there was still another gunshot. Derek was so scared he didn’t know what to do so he just ended up going home and pretended like nothing happened.

The next day, everything was normal with Derek’s family. Derek works for his dad, Jim Cutter, for this summer. When they were at work, Derek’s mom, Ellen, called and informed them about what happened to the Langleys.

The suspects were mostly people Albert has known, since he is a lawyer. Aside from that, there was no other lead. However, there is someone Jim suspected – Conrad Chase. Conrad is an author, president at Thackery College, Ellen’s boss. Ellen also had an affair with Conrad – which Jim discovered through a note in her purse. And he eventually forgave Ellen for this. Jim thinks that it’s Conrad because of something Derek told him. When Derek was showed around the house to check if anything seems out of place, he told Jim that the computer is no longer in the table. That computer was given by Agnes, one of Jim’s clients. The computer was owned by Agnes’s son, Brett, who jumped off the Promise Falls ten years ago. In that computer, there was a novel about a man who woke up one morning with a vagina, instead of a dick. When Derek showed Jim a copy of this, Jim realized that he already read this book. It is a book written and published by Conrad Chase. It was what made him famous. What made Jim doubt Conrad as the author is the fact that Brett already died 2 years before Conrad’s book was published.

After days of investigation, the police made an arrest. And to everyone’s surprise, it was Derek who got arrested. The police discovered that Derek has been lying. He said that he went home by 9PM, however it showed that he called Penney later that evening using the Langley’s telephone. His earring was also found in the master’s bedroom. (TRUTH: Derek admitted later on that he had sex with Donna, Adam’s mother. Donna asked him about his girlfriend and told him that he can teach him since he has never had sex before.)

While Derek was in jail, his parents tried to make ends meet because the lawyer is expensive. Jim continued his business and he found someone to help him – Drew. He was really a hard-worker, and he saved their lives when 2 men attacked Jim & Ellen one night. After this attack, Derek was released from prison. (TRUTH: It was Conrad’s wife who ordered those 2 men to attack Jim & Ellen because she was worried that the copy of the novel will ruin Conrad’s reputation.)

One of the two men that attacked got killed, the other one ran away. When the cops got the 2nd killer and asked Jim & Ellen to identify him, Ellen suddenly acted weird and didn’t identify the guy. (TRUTH: This is because Conrad asked her to do it. He also warned her that if she identifies the guy – his friends will get back to them.)

Ellen always takes into consideration what would Conrad feel. She handed him the disk that contains the copy of the novel. This is because Ellen did something she never told anyone. 10 years ago, Ellen found out that Conrad was about to steal Brett’s work, she decided to talk to Brett. Brett is Conrad’s student that time. As an act to steal his novel, Conrad told him how terrible it is – and Ellen saw how sad he was so she did something. When Ellen told Brett about Conrad’s plan, he took it the hard way. He cried, and ran to the Promise Falls and threw his laptop. He was crying as he kept saying that he no longer cares, that Conrad can have the novel. Ellen followed him and tried to save the laptop. She held on to the laptop and was nearly falling down – Brett turned around to save her. Brett was able to save her but he wasn’t able to save himself – and this is how he died. He didn’t commit suicide. Ellen didn’t know what to do so she went to Conrad and told him what happened – and he was able to turn the events to his advantage by fully claiming the novel.

Jim still thinks that Conrad killed the Langleys because he found out that they have a copy of the novel and he’s afraid that the truth might come out. But he wasn’t the one who killed them. Conrad is friends with Adam’s father, Albert. When Adam told his father about the novel they found, Albert immediately gave the computer to Conrad. The night the Langley’s died, Conrad has nothing to do with it because he already got the copy.

The person who killed the Langleys is Drew – the guy Jim Cutter hired while Derek was in prison. Drew told Jim that he lives in the neighborhood, tending his sick mother. He used to have a daughter but she passed away. Every morning he stands outside their house and Jim would pick him up. But one night, while Jim worked for the mayor, and both Derek and Drew handled the lawns, Jim got a call from Ellen telling him that she’s worried about Derek not being home yet. Jim worked for the mayor for extra cash to pay the lawyer, while Derek handled the business when he got out from prison. When Jim worried about where Derek could be, he looked for Drew and he discover that he doesn’t live in the house he stands infront of each morning. (TRUTH: Drew robbed a bank then went to prison and left his daughter. His daughter ended up as a hooker and one of her customer was the mayor. His daughter’s name is Sherry Underwood. She was underage when the mayor hired her. It was a disaster – she bit his dick and the mayor kicked her face. The mayor, Randy, called Jim, who was his driver that time. When Jim found out that Sherry was underage, he punched the mayor in the nose. He also talked to Sherry. He wrote his name on her little notebook and told her that if she needs help, she should call him. But Sherry never called her. Sherry died one month ago, just in time when Drew got out of prison. Sherry told her everything she went through, and Drew promised her that he would make it up to her. Since Sherry writes down the names of his customers, Drew killed the men on the list one by one. Since Jim was also on the notebook, he started looking for him to kill him. So the night the Langleys were killed, Drew was actually looking for the Cutters. He got into the wrong house because the mailbox with their name is infront of Langley’s house. He just realized his mistake when he saw it on the news the next day. )

To continue his agenda, Drew followed Jim Cutter. It was to his advantage that Jim offered him a job. While working for Jim, Drew discovered that Jim tried to help Sherry Underwood. Drew even got angrier at Jim – because he had the chance to help her but he never did. So he decided that he’d still kill him.

That night Jim discovered who Drew really is, Drew was already holding Derek and Ellen as hostage in their house. To keep Derek and Ellen safe, Drew requested that the mayor announce during his speech the truth that he used an underage sex worker. Drew asked Jim to take a video of it and then bring the mayor after. When Jim showed the video to Drew, he was stunned because the audience ended up showing support after what he confessed. Drew got angrier and decided to kill Randy (the mayor) and Jim.

Drew was already aiming the gun at Randy but Conrad suddenly barged in and nobody noticed him – so Drew ended up shooting his head. This got Drew distracted and they were able to take him down.

Conrad died that night and Drew was sent to prison.

The Cutters decided to start a life somewhere else – to begin again as there were already too much bad memories at where they are.

Jim and Ellen decided to tell Agnes the truth about his son, Brett. They’d tell her that he didn’t commit suicide so she would now stop blaming herself. The End.


List of Characters: 

          • Derek Cutter – Adam’s bestfriend / witnessed the murder
          • Adam Langley – Derek’s bestfriend / neighbor
          • Penney – Derek’s girlfriend
          • Donna Langley – Adam’s mom
          • Albert Langley – Adam’s dad
          • Jim Cutter – Derek’s dad
          • Ellen Cutter – Derek’s mom
          • Conrad Chase – author / Ellen’s boss / Ellen’s ex lover
          • Agnes – Jim’s client
          • Brett – Son of Agnes who died years ago
          • Drew – the killer
          • Sherry Underwood – Drew’s daughter / used to be a hooker
          • Randy – the mayor who used Sherry Underwood


Published by

Eva Harmoni

There was one night when the rain poured so hard, and i didn't want it to stop. Weird, because i was afraid and amused by the sound of the rain and thunder. The sound of it made me less alone that night. The next day i woke up to find my collection of journals soaked. I keep it near the window to make sure no one could read it. The writings can still be read but i was devastated by the damage. I wanted it preserved but i don't want it published. Still amused by the rain but afraid of the wrath it could bring to my journals, i created this blog.

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