Sunday, January 6, 2013

Reader's review - John Verdon (Shut your eyes tight)

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Dear John Verdon, what have been thinking? In 2010, 68-year-old, you debuted as the author of the book "Think Of a Number". And now, in 2012, 70-year-old, you released the sequel "Shut Your Eyes Tight". And here's what I have to ask you: What have you been doing your whole life? You are able to create the most interesting plot, so obscure, that you are able to keep us all caught from start to finish. And what have you been given your hungry audience, who are just waiting for writers like you who dare to think out-of-box? Just two books ...!But let me briefly review "Shut Your Eyes Tight" before I return to you. 

"Shut Your Eyes Tight" brings us into a world of deception and pure horror. The real plot is not revealed before the story is rolled out in all its horror and misery. On his wedding day, the famous psychologist and author, Scott Ashton, finds his young bride beheaded in a gazebo in the middle of the festivities. Despite the fact that the whole day has been immortalized on DVD by four stationary and a floating camera, there are no trace of the killer. The murder Investigation comes quickly to a dead end, had it not been for the bride's mother, the murder would probably have been remained an unsolved mystery. But when the bride's mother contacts Dave Gurney, the retired homicide detective from the NYPD, the case takes a suddenly and unexpected direction ...The persons in "Shut Your Eyes Tight" are the same as the ones we know from "Think Of a Number":
  • Dave Gurney: A divine homicide detective who tries to come to terms with his new life as a retired policeman. He is not the type you would place on a secluded farm with four acres of land consisting of meadows, forests and streams, but nevertheless this is now his reality, and he tries with greater or lesser success, to adapt, while he works as a guest lecturer at the Police Academy from time to time.
  • Madeleine Gurney: Dave's wife and the main reason why they live where they live today - far away from the city. Now they finds themselves surrounded by Catskill's picturesque scenery. She loves the nature and tries to get her husband to see things her way. She was an indescribable menace in "Think Of a Number" - not only to Dave - but to me too. Though she was a significant and intelligent woman, her silent reproach, sarcastic and subtle comments about Dave's work and his art, made me wish her go to hell (and any further away if possible!) Halfway through "Shut Your Eyes Tight", I hated her so much, that I wanted her out of the next books, should John Verdon wish to continue the series. "Let her leave Dave so he can get peace of mind" or "Let her be murdered and use it as the plot for the next book" - just do what it takes to write her out of the story! To Madeleine's undeserved luck and to my liberation, John Verdon opens up and lets Madeleine show some new and far more flattering aspects of her personality. I will probably never learn to love her, but at least I stopped wishing her death - I think that is at kind of progress. Who knows where it ends?
  • Jack Hardwick: A swashbuckling murder investigator who tends to repel people, but together with Dave Gurney they form a perfect team. He is a simple man who tells everyone exactly what he thinks of them and who rarely, if ever, uses the fine potential of diplomacy. I came to love Jack for his honest and forthright nature. Jack Hardwick is the link between the official authorities and Dave Gurney.

The book is extremely well written and I would love to see the movie, if they decided to make one someday. But it is the clever and extremely well thought-out plot that deserves my greatest compliment. Complicated crime novels tends to loose the reader because of its complexity, but that sure does not happen when you read "Shut Your Eyes Tight". This story is coherent and all the parallel events in the plot will eventually be tied together into a larger pattern at the conclusion. And this is one of John Verdon's greatest qualities: He does not give the story away prematurely. The reader gets no
more clues than Dave Gurney has access to at that very moment. You will never find yourself thinking "Beware! There is a man behind the door!", because you actually do not know if there really are a man behind that door. Instead you think: "No, No. Watch out! Suppose there is someone behind the door!" Because it is an unconfirmed fear, and you will not know for sure before John Verdon lets Dave enter the room... 

Dear John Verdon! I hope that you may live a lot longer. The world needs talented writers like you. I find it hard to forgive your late debut as a writer, but your books has definitely been worth the wait!

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