TITLE: The Blinds
AUTHOR: Adam Sternbergh
MY RATING: 5/5
*Synopsis taken from Goodreads*
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.
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I received The Blinds in my first instalment of the Mr B’s Reading Subscription that I was gifted for my birthday this year, and what a start it got off to! To say this is fast paced almost feels like an understatement, it’s one of those books that hits the ground running and doesn’t let up until the final page – a really thrilling ride to say the least!
I have to say that whilst the cover is appealing I probably wouldn’t have picked this one up off the shelf so I’m pleased that it was chosen for me, because it’s a real gem of a book!
So, what is it about? It’s about an experiment essentially. With the technology to wipe memories (entirely or select ones), a place nicknamed The Blinds is created – a small town in the middle of nowhere that people who want to disappear have the option to go to. They will have their memories wiped, or the bits that need to go at least, and they will start afresh here, in a somewhat sanctuary, safe from the danger lurking outside. They will not know if they are guilty or innocent, and they will not know the truth about the other residents either. Everything is quite harmonious until a suicide and a murder take place and long buried secrets begin to show themselves.
The concept of this one is great, and its setting in rural Texas gave it the feeling of a western which really enhanced the unfolding plot. The structure is broken down into sections, each depicting different days, which gives a sense of real time, and really makes you feel as though you are there watching everything unfold first hand.
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It is clever, well-written, and full of twists and turns from start to finish. It does have a sense of completion at the end though which is great. It is quite chaotic up to this point (I mean this in a good way, there’s a lot going on), and I did wonder if there would be an ending that wasn’t ambiguous. Not only is there an authentic close, but it leaves an option for another book, which would be fantastic. I’ll be honest, I think this is probably designed to be a standalone, and it’s wishful thinking on my part, but I would love to read a follow up.
I mentioned in the paragraph above that this book is quite chaotic, and I’ll elaborate briefly here. What I mean by that is that there are a lot of characters, and a lot of different narratives to learn about and react to. However, whilst some characters are more of a supporting presence Sternbergh has a way of making you feel something for all of them. Even with a huge amount of action taking place, the desire to keep track of each person and each event is strong, and it is not a confusing quest. In fact I felt entirely invested in everything which was especially rewarding. When I closed the book I really felt as though I had gone on a journey.
I do think it’s important to say that this is quite a heavy read, and there are a few trigger warnings to be prepared for including violence, suggestions of child abuse (no details), homophobia, murder, and murder of children (again few details). I didn’t find these topics overwhelming because as I said (besides the violence aspect) the detailing was few if at all, and it was more to give a backstory to certain characters without any real depth if that makes sense. It’s definitely worth bearing in mind though before picking this one up.
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Of course I would recommend The Blinds, I wouldn’t have given it 5 stars if I didn’t think it was brilliant! As you will know if you aren’t new here I read a huge amount of thrillers, but this one seemed so fresh and different from the usual premise. Not that I dislike that usual premise, I wouldn’t read thriller after thriller if I did, but to come across something that is a real surprise within the genre is rare for me, so this was a really unexpected treat. If you like a lot of action, and a fast paced read then definitely give this one a try, for me there wasn’t anything to dislike!
Have you read The Blinds? What did you think about it? If you haven’t read it do you think that you will? As always I would love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!
Until the next time…Jess x