When he was the NYPD’s top homicide investigator, Dave Gurney was never comfortable with the label the press gave him: super detective. He was simply a man who, when faced with a puzzle, wanted to know. He was called to the investigative hunt by the presumptuous arrogance of murderers – by their smug belief that they could kill without leaving a trace. There was always a trace, Gurney believed.
Except what if one day there wasn’t?
Dave Gurney, a few months past the Mellery case that pulled him out of retirement and then nearly killed him, is trying once again to adjust to his country house’s bucolic rhythms when he receives a call about a case so seductively bewildering that the thought of not looking into it seems unimaginable—even if his beloved wife, Madeleine, would rather he do anything but.
The facts of what has occurred are horrible: a blushing bride, newly wed to an eminent psychiatrist and just minutes from hearing her congratulatory toast, is found decapitated, her head apparently severed by a machete. Though police investigators believe that a Mexican gardener killed the young woman in a fit of jealous fury, the victim’s mother—a chilly high-society beauty—is having none of it. Reluctantly drawn in, Dave is quickly buffeted by a series of revelations that transform the bizarrely monstrous into the monstrously bizarre.
Underneath it all may exist one of the darkest criminal schemes imaginable. And as Gurney begins deciphering its grotesque outlines, some of his most cherished assumptions about himself are challenged, causing him to stare into an abyss so deep that it threatens to swallow not just him but Madeleine, too.
Desperate to protect Madeleine and bring an end to the madness, Gurney ultimately discovers that the killer has left a trace after all. Unfortunately, the revelation may come too late to save his own life.
With Shut Your Eyes Tight, John Verdon delivers on the promise of his internationally bestselling debut, Think of a Number, creating a portrait of evil let loose across generations that is as rife with moments of touching humanity as it is with spellbinding images of perversity.
I haven’t read John Verdon’s first book featuring forty-eight years old retired NYPD detective Dave Gurney, Think of a Number, but Pushy had nothing but good things to say about the book. When TLC Book Tours approached us with the author’s second installment featuring this same character, I decided to give it a shot.
Shut Your Eyes Tight is mystery and a police procedural blended together nicely. While Dave and his wfe Madeleine should be enjoying their retirement in the New York countryside, he can’t help but be drawn back into a murder investigation when approached by an ex-collegue. The murder is grisly and none of the facts seem to fit. A good portion of the first third of the book focuses on Dave’s struggle on whether or not to look into this case and his relationship with his wife. And I felt like this pacing for this part of the book was really slow.
Once Dave really dug into the legwork of the case and started putting some of the pieces together, the book’s pacing was much better. The suspense, danger, and mystery definitely became more vivid and real the further along in the book I read. The mystery aspects were not formulaic or easily guessable. The cast of characters did grow quite large towards the end, but it wasn’t so large that you couldn’t easily keep track of everyone.
I give this one a four out of five. Shut Your Eyes Tight is a book I definitely recommend for any mystery or crime lovers.