The Line Painter


Author: Claire Cameron

Published: 2007

Genre: Suspense

About The Line Painter: A woman's car breaks down in the middle of the night in northern Ontario and she is offered a ride by a man who is painting lines on the road.

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Review of The Line Painter

Carrie McDonald is on a road trip, heading west and away from her problems. Somewhere between Kapuskasing and Hearst in northern Ontario her car breaks down.

There I stood with the headlights of a truck shining down on me. I started to realize a few things. The road was empty except for me, my car, and the truck and its contents. It was dark. It was cold. It was late. My car was now bleeding green goo. No one knew where I was. A truck had just pulled up and I wasn't even wearing underpants.

...from page 4

In the truck is Frank, who is out repainting the lines on the road. He offers her a ride into town and with some trepidation, Carrie accepts.

This book was not what I expected. I had skimmed some reviews and articles that called it "terrifying" and "chilling" and the cover was a bit eerie so I thought I would be reading a thriller. And although it started off that way and partly ended that way, the book was really about grief, guilt, love, and forgiveness.

I didn't like Carrie much at the beginning. Her tendency to overreact to every little thing was irritating and I was concerned that the book was going to turn into "urban chick discovers a world outside of the city". She won me over by the end though, only partly because the reasons for her behaviour were explained.

On the other hand, I liked Frank at the beginning. He was blunt with a dry sense of humour and I tend to like men of few words. But he lost me about the same time that Carrie won me over and by the end he just made me sad.

Cameron's writing style was very lean and yet the sense of place was good and the characters were clearly drawn. Interspersed throughout the book were increasingly frantic phone messages from family and friends, made all the more disturbing because the reader knows that Carrie is not receiving them. They were a really nice touch.

I liked the book and thought it was an impressive debut. I wouldn't hesitate to pick up Cameron's second, when and if she writes it.

Reviewed by Lynn Bornath on 29 July 2008.

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More Reviews

Mary Akers, 6 April 2007
“Like Life of Pi, or The Alchemist, Cameron's novel covers a physical journey—a journey with strange, fantastical elements—that leads the protagonist to a life-changing epiphany.”
Ramblings of a Biker Hen, 8 April 2007
“An amazing story about a series of events that changes a person's life.”
Marc Lostracco, Torontoist, 26 April 2007
“With her serviceable style and page-one-hook, the book is likely to become—and mostly deserves to be—a hit.”
Patricia Storms, BookLust, 11 January 2008
“And on top of the extremely suspenseful story and great character development, you learn all about the fascinating world of line-painting.”
Nicola, Back to Books, 14 November 2008
“The suspense kept me firmly planted on the edge of my seat and as the plot revealed itself I quickly became aware that I was getting into something more than a suspense novel.”


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Added 31 July 2008.
Updated 04 September 2013.