Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Review of "Shut Your Eyes Tight" [43]

Shut Your Eyes Tight by John Verdon
Crown, ISBN 978-0307717894
July 12, 2011, 528 pages

Dave Gurney may be retired from his former job as a NYC homicide detective, but that does not mean he can turn his back when he is invited to try and solve a truly bewildering crime.

A young bride is killed at her own wedding reception, moments after her marriage to a famous psychiatrist. Police believe that she was decapitated by a machete wielded by her husband's Mexican gardener, who then seems to almost disappeared into thin air. But her mother, a very wealthy society woman, is not buying the story..or the local police's inability to make any headway in solving the crime. She approaches Gurney and offers him whatever resources he needs to bring justice to her daughter. Although Gurney's wife is less than thrilled with the interruption to their attempt at a more bucolic existence, once Dave starts to look into the facts of the crime and all the people involved, he can't turn his back.
Even if it may put both he and his wife in the path of the killer.

This is the second book in the series, and while I did not read the first, I am not sure it would have changed my opinion of this one either way.
Don't get me wrong. It is not a bad book. It is well written, the characters are pretty interesting and while I figured out the murderer, there were a few twists and turns that were satisfyingly surprising. But, I think it could have been a much better book. If you look at the description up at the top, where the publisher and such is, one reason why may be clear.

528 pages is just too long for this story and a judicial use of the Big Red Pen could have been helpful. I would say much of the first 100-150-200 pages is full...FULL...of descriptions of his wife complaining about him getting involved in this case and his inner mental turmoil about what he should do, fertilize the asparagus or go talk to witnesses. We get it...they have different ideas about how they should be living their lives. And you know what? I don't really care! It might have been an interesting little aside but to go on...and on..and on about it adds nothing to the story. Sometimes less is more and that would have been the case here. Add to that a few illogical aspects of the mystery,  a few over the top, melodramatic side trips and the book had a number of troubling issues.

A fairly good mystery in the 'locked-room' genre...but one that could have benefited from some tightening up.

My thanks to the publisher for a review copy of this book


  1. NO WAY I would read 528 pages of a forgettable murder mystery that isn't such a mystery. Yikes.

  2. 528 pages does seem awfully long for a murder mystery. Thanks for the warning!

  3. His first book had lots of nagging wife stuff in it too. There must be a story behind all that! :--)

  4. well, it was interesting enough..or an easy enough read, that I did finish it. But the whining got tiring.
    If the first book has the same issue, I am sure I will be skipping it.

  5. Lol, Caite! Just what we talked about and I had to laugh today as TBG is reading the book and griping about the asparagus. Enough already! Great reveiw!


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