Eyes Closed Tight
by Peter Leonard
Release Date: March 4th, 2014
2014 The Story Plant
Softcover Edition; 300 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher
3 / 5 Stars
O'Clair is a former
Detroit homicide investigator who now owns a motel in Pompano Beach,
Florida in his retirement. He runs the place with his much younger
girlfriend, Virginia, who's a knockout and can fix anything. One
morning, he’s cleaning up after the previous night’s partiers when he
sees a lovely young woman stretched out asleep on a lounge chair. He
shakes her gently. Then he touches her neck and feels for a pulse. There
isn't one. Her skin is cold, body starting to stiffen, definitely in
the early stages of rigor.
When a second girl is murdered,
O'Clair knows someone is trying to send him a message. The way the girls
are killed reminds O'Clair of a case he investigated years earlier. Now
convinced the Pompano murders are related, O'Clair returns to Detroit
Police Homicide to review the murder file and try to figure out what he
might have missed.
Eyes Closed Tight is one of those novels that I thought was fun, and enjoyed it quite a bit, but as for thought-provoking and intense, this is where I found it to be somewhat lacking.
First of all, I thought the writing was good and certainly had no qualms with the pace as it was quick and to the point. The action moved along rather quickly, and some of the details were certainly interesting. I especially liked Virginia's interview with the escort agency as I thought it was rather fascinating, if a little scary. Despite all of this, there were times when I found my mind wandering and I had to pull it back and focus on what was happening, and that made me think that perhaps something was lacking. Okay, I am trying to be polite here, but it wasn't too hard to figure out what the big mystery was and why things were happening the way they were. Perhaps I read too many mysteries and suspense novels, and I am getting rather too critical, it's hard to say, but I definitely like my novels to be ones where there are so many twists and turns that I get lost in them to the point where I can't figure what is happening. I crave that now. And this novel didn't quite have those twists that I needed.
I definitely liked O'Clair but I was a bit skeptical as to how much information a retired homicide detective, one who wasn't asked back on a case, would be given, and if the non-retired police would cooperate the way they did. Especially in a jurisdiction in which they have never worked as O'Clair is originally from Detroit and he now lives in Florida. I have to admit there were times when I rolled my eyes and had to continue reading with a continued suspension of disbelief, but it's not that unusual in many novels, so readers just go with the punches, so to speak. There was one event where I did smirk and it had to do with one situation in Detroit where someone important got shot, and I couldn't believe the author actually continued playing out the scene the way he did - unbelievable. I just had to shake my head and almost stopped reading right then and there. Despite this, I did like many of the other characters and it was nice to see a novel where the characters don't develop these super-spy abilities and are just regular people trying to survive in a difficult situation. Even O'Clair, being a former detective, is a caring, thoughtful man, totally in love with his much younger girlfriend, and puts others before himself. I really liked his character and thought he and Virginia were an interesting match.
Eyes Closed Tight is one of those books I'd recommend for when you are looking for a light, quick read, perhaps something for the plane or on a beach, one which contains likeable characters and a light twisty plot. While interesting, I didn't really feel the plot showed depth, nor was it very intricate. I did like the characters and thought they had interesting lives to tell, things that were not yet necessarily revealed in this novel, and I am invested enough to want to know more. I did have the pleasure of reading his Voices of the Dead and know how well Mr. Leonard can connect with his readers on an emotional level, and for that reason alone, I would probably read another book by this author.