Kirkus Reviews QR Code
EYES WIDE OPEN by Andrew Gross Kirkus Star

EYES WIDE OPEN

By Andrew Gross

Pub Date: July 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-165596-8
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Inspired by the death of the author’s nephew, this is a grim psychological thriller sure to shock readers.

Nothing is evil if it’s done out of love. Such is the mantra of a convicted murderer’s cult followers. A troubled teenager falls from a cliff, an apparent suicide. But why would the boy remove one sneaker before jumping? And where is that sneaker? Evan Erlich’s distraught father Charlie is convinced that Evan did not kill himself even though the family had serious internal conflicts. Charlie himself had once led a drug-addled life, and he and his wife Gabby depend on others for their support. Narrator Jay Erlich is Evan’s brother and a successful physician with a loving wife and family and far better circumstances in life. He is drawn deeply into a tangle of fear in which Evan’s death is only the beginning. Jay initially seeks to comfort his brother and sister-in-law over their son’s death, but like any good hero he asks too many questions and never knows when to quit. He crosses paths with Susan Pollack, who has just been released from prison after more than 30 years. Her lover, Russell Houvnanian, is an unrepentant killer with a magnetic personality and a long memory. Houvnanian lingers forever in a super-max prison at California’s Pelican Bay and rarely even sees daylight. What can these people possibly have to do with poor Evan or with the other victims who turn up? And what about the eyes carved into the bodies? Trouble piles on trouble, and absolutely no one is safe, even when it seems that no more disasters can happen.

An emotional, frightening study of evil with believable characters and a relentless pace. Readers who wear pacemakers will want to check their batteries before they open the book.