Review: The Blinds
Published: August 1, 2017 by Ecco
Review copy provided by publisher
A blistering thriller from the Edgar-nominated author of Shovel Ready—a speculative modern Western with elements of Cormac McCarthy, Jim Thompson, and the Coen brothers that is wickedly funny, razor-sharp, and totally engrossing
Imagine a place populated by criminals-people plucked from their lives, with their memories altered, who’ve been granted new identities and a second chance. Welcome to The Blinds, a dusty town in rural Texas populated by misfits who don’t know if they’ve perpetrated a crime, or just witnessed one. What’s clear to them is that if they leave, they will end up dead.
For eight years, Sheriff Calvin Cooper has kept an uneasy peace—but after a suicide and a murder in quick succession, the town’s residents revolt. Cooper has his own secrets to protect, so when his new deputy starts digging, he needs to keep one step ahead of her—and the mysterious outsiders who threaten to tear the whole place down. The more he learns, the more the hard truth is revealed: The Blinds is no sleepy hideaway. It’s simmering with violence and deception, aching heartbreak and dark betrayals.
The blurb about this calls it “a speculative modern Western with elements of Cormac McCarthy, Jim Thompson, and the Coen brothers” and it would be right. The highest praise I can give this book is that I would love to see how the Coen brothers would translate it to the big screen. I loved this book. I tend toward being a slow reader, easily distracted, and sometimes find it hard to get into a book, but The Blinds had me going from the start. I did not want to put it down.
The story centers on a little community in the middle of nowhere, Texas. Caesura is populated by folks who either have committed horrible, heinous crimes or witnessed those crimes. And you don’t know which of those they are. You see, the residents have had their memories wiped. They remember nothing of the events that led them to the Blinds (what the residents call Caesura). They have existed somewhat peacefully for about eight years, until now. There was a recent suicide and now there has been a murder. That’s all you need for now. You’ll have to read the rest for yourselves.
Sternbergh’s prose leads you through this journey wonderfully. As I read I can see the movie flowing in my mind. The characters you meet, their names changed to some combination of one movie star and one Vice-President, are fleshed out in great detail. The story itself is part western, part whodunit, part psychological thriller. It is a fast-paced ride that to me slowed down only a bit but that’s the case with any good ride. You need a moment to catch your breath sometimes. This was a fantastic book that I highly recommend. Sternbergh has two other books, Shovel Ready and its sequel, Near Enemy which I shall add to my TBR pile.
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