He got his first newspaper job with the Peterborough Examiner when he was 22. In 1981, he was hired by the Toronto Star. He held various editing positions there until 1993 when he became the paper's humor columnist, a postion he held until June 2008 when he wrote his farewell column.
His first four published novels, described as "comic thrillers", featured the character Zack Walker. He then switched to a darker, more serious brand of fiction that, starting with "No Time for Goodbye", brought him immediate praise and worldwide recognition.
In addition to his novels, Barclay has published four works of non-fiction: Last Resort: A Memoir, Mike Harris Made Me Eat My Dog, Father Knows Zilch: A Guide for Dumbfounded Dads, and This House is Nuts: Surviving the Absurdities of Everyday Life.
He and his wife currently live in Burlington, Ontario.
"You get these stories in your head and if you don’t let them out you’ll go crazy." ~ Linwood Barclay
"I was making my own daughter breakfast, getting ready to drive her to her retail job at the time, and said, “Got an idea for a book?” She said something like, 'Suppose you came to pick me up at work and I wasn’t there.' And then I said, 'What if you’d never been there?'" ~ Linwood Barclay on how he got the idea for his bestseller Fear the Worst
"When I’m working out a plot’s finer points, I leave the study and go and cut the lawn. It’s a great way to work out story problems." ~ Linwood Barclay
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¹ A longer version of the story told in Clouded Vision