Linwood Barclay was born in the United States, but just as he was turning four, his parents moved to Canada, settling in a Toronto suburb. Linwood’s father, Everett, a commercial artist whose illustrations of automobiles appeared in Life, Look and The Saturday Evening Post, had accepted an advertising position north of the border.
As the major car accounts switched more to photography for their magazine advertising instead of illustrations, Linwood’s parents bought a cottage resort and trailer park in the Kawartha Lakes region of Ontario. But when Linwood was 16, his father died, and he essentially took over running the family business (an experience he wrote about in his memoir, Last Resort).
At the age of 22, Linwood left the resort and got his first newspaper job, at the Peterborough Examiner.
In 1981, he joined the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest circulation newspaper. For twelve years he held a variety of editing positions, then became the paper’s humour columnist in 1993. A few thousand columns later, he retired from the paper in 2008 to write books full-time.
After writing four comic thrillers featuring the character Zack Walker, Linwood turned to darker, standalone novels, starting with No Time for Goodbye, which became an international hit. The novel has been translated into nearly forty languages, was the single bestselling novel in the UK in 2008, and has been optioned for film by Eric McCormack. Since then, all of Linwood’s novels have appeared on bestseller lists, and more his books have been optioned.
Linwood studied English Literature at Trent University. He was fortunate to have some very fine mentors; in particular, the celebrated Canadian author Margaret Laurence, whom Linwood first met while she was serving as writer-in-residence at Trent, and Kenneth Millar, who, under the name Ross Macdonald, wrote the acclaimed series of mystery novels featuring the private eye Lew Archer.
It was at Trent where he met his wife Neetha. They have been married more than thirty years, and have two children, Spencer and Paige.