*Gross, Andrew. Eyes Wide Open. Morrow. Jul. 2011. c.338p. ISBN 9780061655968. $25.99. F

In his fifth solo outing (after Reckless and five number one best sellers coauthored with James Patterson), Gross employs two events from his own life—the suicide of a nephew and a chance encounter with a notorious mass killer—to craft a gripping psychological thriller in which past family secrets return to haunt those least able to bear the horror. Jay Erlich, a vascular surgeon from New York, is celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary when he receives a call from his sister-in-law in California. She and her husband, both wards of the state because of mental illness and dependent on Jay for emotional and financial support, have lost their 21-year-old son to suicide. The boy had shown great promise as a kid, only to fall victim to a perfect storm of mental instability. But did he really commit suicide? Or is this tragedy somehow connected to the distant past and his father's ties to a Charles Manson–like cult leader and a California commune? Verdict If there are tricks of the trade, Gross has learned them all. He writes with seeming ease, offering no fancy stylistic tics, no overwrought prose, no melodrama, just a menacing tale with effective twists, perfect pacing, intriguing characters, and heart-gripping suspense. A fun summer read for thriller fans.

Express Reviews: LibraryJournal.com, July 22, 2011.

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