Thursday, August 18, 2016

"Close My Eyes" by Sophie McKenzie

Geniver Loxley endured a stillborn birth eight years ago, and has never really gotten over it. Her husband Art is eager for another child, so she reluctantly participates in fertility sessions to try and get pregnant again, as it doesn't seem to be working naturally.

Then one day, a woman - Lucy O'Donnell - shows up on her doorstep and reveals that her baby is actually alive. There was a conspiracy to fool Geniver into thinking her baby was stillborn, and her husband was apparently a major part of it. (Lucy's sister was a nurse in on the ruse, and spilled her guts on her deathbed).

Geniver grabs on to this shred of hope and refuses to let go. She obviously begins to wonder if she can trust her husband at all. A TV actor from her husband's past shows up, and he winds up being her support system as she searches for the truth.

It's been a few days since I read this, as I wanted to see how I felt about it after a little time had passed. With the benefit of that time for reflection, I have to say this one is worth reading. I've been sticking with psychological thrillers of late, because I have found the process of reading them enjoyable. While a police procedural has me wanting to throw the book/Kindle across the room because the exact same cliches keep popping up every time, this current trend of female-led psychological thrillers at least offer a bit of mystery. Sure, the final revelations are never as startling as you'd hope they'd be, but they do all suck me in.

My only real complaint with "Close My Eyes" is that I sometimes got fed up with the main character, Geniver. I couldn't possibly understand the trauma associated with having a stillborn baby, but Geniver's grief was just so self-indulgent. It often seemed as if she held on to her pain because she could, not because she should. She absolutely refused to move on with her life after EIGHT YEARS, and it was a bit too much. Why nobody in her life could find a way to gently tell her to process her grief and instead put up with her poor-me bullshit is beyond me.

Other than that, this really kept me gripped. I read it in a single day. It was all a bit outlandish, but I can forgive that, as it was never boring. The fact it had me hooked also helped to overlook some of the predictability. All in all, "Close My Eyes" is a good choice for those who, like me, are voraciously consuming this flurry of psychological thrillers. It hits far more than it misses (although I can't quite figure out the relevance of the title!)

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