The Shut Eye

by Belinda Bauer

I'd picked this book up and put it down again, even though I'd had the author recommended to me. The subject matter wasn't one I was particularly anxious to visit - a four-year-old boy goes missing and his desperate mother reaches out to the hope offered by a psychic.

But I was asked to review the book so was glad of the prompt to take it up again. I did so without reminding myself of the content - just started reading. And I couldn't stop.

I kept turning the pages because it felt so lightly drawn yet there were layers to the characters and to the plot that left me pondering on the story, dwelling on all the implications.

The central character, the troubled detective John Marvel is obsessed with solving the disappearance of a young girl, Edie Evans and it is his dogged determination for her not to be forgotten that leads him to resolve other mysteries along the way. There is an abducted dog, a fraudulent psychic and the missing toddler. But even as he seems to unearth underhand dealings, things still aren't so clear cut.

Could there be something in a sixth sense, an intuition, a message from the spirit world about the disappearances of the children? Are they still alive? When do you give up hope?

It's a clever book which keeps you thinking about all these elements without reverting to extreme measures. As the reader, we sit with Marvel in his scepticism and cynicism but also, like him, we begin to accept incidents as suggesting something supernatural because this might mean the children will be found.

This was an enjoyable read as there was enough distance from the parents of the missing children for it not to be harrowing. Marvel was a likeable detective so we wanted him to come up with the answers, and of course we wanted to find out the solution to the mystery. I'll definitely pick up Bauer's books again.

 

Review date: September 2015
The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer