Gone Girl meets Before I Go to Sleep in Sophie McKenzie's Close My Eyes, a riveting psychological thriller about a grieving mother who finds out years after her daughter’s death that her child may still be alive.
When Geniver Loxley lost her daughter at birth eight years ago, her world stopped… and never fully started again. Mothers with strollers still make her flinch; her love of writing has turned into a half-hearted teaching career; and she and her husband, Art, have slipped into the kind of rut that seems inescapable.
But then a stranger shows up on their doorstep, telling Gen the very thing she’s always wanted to hear: that her daughter Beth was not stillborn, but was taken away as a healthy infant and is still out there, somewhere, waiting to be found. It’s insane, unbelievable. But why would anyone make that up? A fissure suddenly opens up in Gen’s carefully reconstructed life, letting in a flood of unanswerable questions. Where is Beth now? Why is Art so reluctant to get involved? To save his wife from further hurt? Or is it something more sinister? And who can she trust to help her?
Ignoring the warnings of her husband and friends, Gen begins to delve into the dark corners of her past, hopeful she’ll find a clue to her daughter’s whereabouts. But hope quickly turns into fear and paranoia, as she realizes that finding the answers might open the door to something even worse than not knowing. A truth that could steal everything she holds close – even her own life.
Publishers WeeklyAt the outset of British author McKenzie’s uneven first adult novel and U.S. debut, Geniver Loxley receives shocking news: her child, apparently stillborn eight years earlier, may actually be alive—and her devoted husband, Art, may have been responsible for the deception. The information understandably shatters Gen’s world, and assisted by attractive bad-boy Lorcan Byrne, she begins unraveling the mystery. While the plot unfurls nicely, some readers may be impatient with the bland, waffling Gen, who spends much of her time debating which man she ought to trust in helping her uncover the truth. Foregrounding Gen’s inner feelings hampers the development of genuine tension. McKenzie (Missing Me) works diligently to fulfill genre expectations, providing shoals of red herrings and blithely killing off auxiliary characters before they reveal anything more than fragments of useful information. Those who like their thrillers with heaping spoonfuls of romance will be satisfied. Announced first printing of 150,000. Agent: Zoë Pagnamenta, Zoë Pagnamenta Agency. (July)
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Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Author: Sophie McKenzie
Her website: http://SophieMckenziebooks.com
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THE BOOKISH DAME REVIEWS:
Having stayed up all night to finish this book, I suppose it's no wonder the first words out of my mouth would be "too wordy!!" And, it was, but it was too good to put down, too! The storyline hooked me in from the start with a young woman who had a stillborn child, then finds that her child may not have been dead afterall--just stolen. But from that point on, it was like pulling teeth to get to the meat of the thing!! And I was clamping down on those book covers like death itself wanting to find out.
I don't know if it's just the British way of writing mysteries or not, but I've found this characteristic to be common in their thriller genre. These authors want to hang out a piece of bloody meat and then have us slowly follow the trail, sniff here and there, have a taste, follow the trail, sniff and so on until, frankly, I get to the point I don't "bloody" care what happens to the meat or any of them!! I'm frustrated, you see. This book took forever to come out with it. But, I persisted. High tension...
The mystery of the lost child and the characters who were possibly or probably involved was a good premise. I enjoyed the chase on the psychological level. The book was much more interesting in terms of the mindset of the people involved than the actual acting out of the cat and mouse game.
Although I think the author seemed to want us to see the main character, Geniver, evolve into an assertive, strong and organized womanly~woman...I thought she was actually manic and splintered throughout. Perhaps the surprise ending speaks a little to that. (Don't worry, no spoiler here!)
Just a pet peeve about how women are portrayed in novels.... The women in this book took a right hook, I think...all of them to some degree were found weak and wanting. Actually, the men faired no better, so all being equal... This was to level the playing field of life, I suppose.
So, how do I make this cohesive since I really did like the book, strangely enough? Surprised you, huh?
I found it a good read on a subject that took my imagination away. I was hooked in about what happened to that baby or whether the mother was just psycho. I felt the characters were engaging and had depth. The storyline was believable even though it was too wordy. I loved hating the villains. Some of the descriptions of interiors and characters were downright yummie.
Typical British mystery-type novel thought it was, I liked it a lot. I would recommend it with the reservation that you might have to speed read over some of the slower parts. It's worth it... There are some unpredictable twists to the plot that keep you running.
Warning: It will make you stay up all night.
4 stars Deborah/TheBookishDame