*Verdon, John. Shut Your Eyes Tight. Crown. Jul. 2011. c.528p. ISBN 9780307717894. $24. F

As in Verdon's outstanding debut thriller (Think of a Number), retired NYPD detective Dave Gurney once again, to the dismay of his wife, gets pulled into a bizarre murder case. What starts with the beheading of a bride on her wedding day results in a series of mind-boggling clues that stymie investigators. Police efforts ground to a halt after four months, and Gurney is hired by the bride's wealthy mother to get the case moving again. Why would Scott Ashton, an older celebrity psychiatrist, wealthy in his own right, marry a spoiled, rich girl who is clearly a sociopath? And why would the psychiatrist's gardener, a man he'd molded, Pygmalion-like, from an itinerant worker into a do-it-all assistant, apparently behead the bride during the reception? And what do these events and other murders have to do with a lost Elizabethan play and its author, whose name has become the nom de crime of a sophisticated serial killer? To find out, Gurney will risk his life and marriage. Verdict Absorbing complications, perfect pacing, a conflicted protagonist (endearing for his introspection), and the author's insight, which imbues the story with tremendous humanity, make this a must-read for thriller fans who enjoy tales that are not only gripping but believable. [See Prepub Alert, 1/17/11.]—Ron Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson

Express Reviews: LibraryJournal.com, July 1, 2011.


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