Title: Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly
Genre: Thriller and Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Domestic Noir
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title and Cover: Open Your Eyes–great cover
This book grabs you almost immediately and doesn’t really let go the hold until the shocking but satisfying conclusion.
I can think of few scenarios more visually horrifying than that of being shot in the head. By a nail gun. Not once. Twice. Once that mental picture is captured in your own head, it’s awfully tough to get out. Left in the car with his two children in the back seat, they were momentarily stalled from leaving when the neighbor catches his attention and proceeds to vent yet another complaint about their cat. His wife, Jane, was just asked to run back in to retrieve some fortifying liquid to help Leon get through his forty-six birthday party with his mother–yet another he did not wish to attend. Jane may have stalled inside just a bit. She’s is not a person who enjoys confrontation and is tired of neighbor Lawrence’s tirades, but when Jane gets back to the car, something is wrong. Really, extremely wrong.
At the hospital, the MRI’s show two nails in the brain. Leon survives the operation and the coma to emerge a different man. One who Jane is shocked to realize doesn’t know or want her around, doesn’t remember anything.
Leon was a very successful best-selling author. Jane aspired to be, but failed time and again to find a home for her manuscripts. The narrative is issued in first person. Jane works through the time her husband is in the hospital, getting snippets of prognosis, seemingly each more egregious than the other. The author weaves in fascinating little facts about brain trauma patients (and specifically brain trauma patients in the UK) and those likely to follow the patient at discharge; the life they may, or may not, be capable of.
Nothing can ever be the same. Jane’s world is violently and irrevocably changed. Following his discharge, the reality is life with someone you no longer know.
Someone who could now be instantly belligerent, violent. Apparently closely held secrets which he can no longer remember, but only beginning to come to the surface of their lives as little bubbles, one by one. I loved the way the author kept dishing little clues. Then who was this man before? What was he really doing online? And their ability to stay afloat; had he lied to her about their financial condition, too? Jane resumes teaching.
Ms. Daly has a remarkable ability to build the suspense, stave the moment, and then continue to build the tension. But no, you are not allowed to relax. The dialogue is so natural, the tension between family members mounting as it appears there is no progress in finding the perpetrator, the motive, or any way out for the current Leon. Red herrings continue to surface and that avenue is gingerly explored, carefully left as a possible breadcrumb. Support characters, fellow authors, family members all ring so true and bring the story to sharp focus. At one point, you are as desperate as Jane to find an answer and even begin to wonder about her. Jane keeps their two young children in the background, fearful of their safety.
I hope this is not a true indictment of the world of authors, but the well-plotted storyline seemed so real, so…possible, so gospel. She has fought so hard and so long through overwhelming challenges and begins to feel of the power of her capability. Jane eventually discovers the true culprit and pulls a brilliant sting.
What a remarkable and skillfully crafted plot! I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley and totally appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Heartily recommended for any who enjoy a good thriller.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars
The Author: Paula Daly is the acclaimed author of five novels. Her work has been sold in fifteen countries, shortlisted for CWA Gold Dagger Crime Novel of the Year award, and her books are currently being developed into the ITV drama – Deep Water – set to air in 2019. She was born in Lancashire and lives in the Lake District with her husband, three children, and whippet Skippy.
©2018 V Williams