Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Shut Your Eyes Tight (Dave Gurney, No. 2): A Novel (A Dave Gurney Novel) Paperback – June 26, 2012
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Voice is the hallmark of a great writer, and I loved John Verdon’s riveting Shut Your Eyes Tight from page one, because I fell in love with his voice.
Yes, the plot is a humdinger, too, with a bride turning up dead on her wedding day, whereupon former NYPD police detective Dave (“Don’t call me Davey”) Gurney is called out of an uneasy retirement to investigate the crime and find the killer. Gurney’s been settling into a country life in the Catskills, trying to force himself to think about mulch and bulldozers, but it ain’t working out so great. His superbly-drawn (if realistically tart-tongued) wife is hoping they can spend more time together, but Gurney is a “natural-born onion peeler” and he can’t sit on his hands when murder strikes in nearby, ritzy Tambury.
Gurney starts digging, asking thoughtful questions, and interviewing the society types who knew the bride, and soon his dining room table is covered with notes and gruesome crime-scene photos that his wife wishes weren’t around when dinner guests arrive. Yet Gurney persists, seeking the truth in his quiet, self-assured way.
The plot comes to life on the first page, but as I say, what keeps the pages turning is the pitch-perfect, intriguing voice of this “hero,” a term I know that Dave Gurney would hate. He’s super-smart, but the last one to brag. He loves his wife, but he doesn’t get all mawkish about her. He’s haunted by the death of his young child, but he doesn’t even say that aloud. Even his diversions are fascinating; you’ll never forget his theory of “The Eureka Fallacy,” a lesson in police analysis that applies to your everyday life. And he goes about serving justice, despite all the personal costs at home, with a care and concern that you realize, by the end, is characteristic.
I know that you’ll want to hear more from Dave Gurney and this amazingly talented author, John Verdon. I can’t wait for his next book.
A Letter from Author John Verdon
“How on earth did you put this together?” That’s probably the question I was asked most frequently about my first Dave Gurney multi-layered thriller, Think of a Number. And now the early readers of the second novel in the series, Shut Your Eyes Tight, an even twistier tale, are asking it again. I guess the best way to answer the question is to describe how these complex stories seem to develop in my mind. For me, there are two starting points for every mystery-thriller. There is the largely concealed action of the criminal—the true extent and nature of which will drive the plot, creating an increasing level of danger and destruction. And there is a specific mysterious result of that criminal action that initially touches and involves the crime-solver—drawing him into an ever higher level of confrontation with the underlying evil enterprise. In Think of a Number, the initial tip of the criminal iceberg is a chilling and seemingly clairvoyant series of letters received by Dave Gurney’s old college classmate. As other baffling and murderous bits of the iceberg come to the surface, Dave becomes more and more engaged, more personally challenged to find the pattern, the motive, the killer. In Shut Your Eyes Tight, the first visible sign of something complex beneath the surface is far more horrific. A bride is decapitated at her own wedding reception—and Dave is drawn into the investigation by a disgruntled cop who believes the official investigation is off-track. My personal approach is to develop a story like Shut Your Eyes Tight on two simultaneous tracks that gradually become more and more entwined. The criminal does something that gets the attention of the detective; the detective begins his examination of the situation; the criminal escalates his activity, producing results that further involve the detective; the detective’s intensified investigative actions provoke more desperate responses by the criminal, building to a climactic high-risk confrontation and the revelation of the full architecture of the very nasty iceberg. For me, the key to the credible development of this kind of a narrative lies in understanding my characters—their motives, emotions, and potential for interaction. But you know what part of the process excites and inspires me the most? It’s the part where I imagine that first visible hint of the monster beneath the surface. Whenever I see a horror or science-fiction movie, the great moment is that first glimpse of trouble. I remember an old black-and-white movie I saw, probably back in the 1950s. A happy little family on vacation spent the night in their camping trailer by a back road in the desert. In the morning, one of the children, chasing a ball, comes upon a very strange footprint in the sand—nothing recognizably human or animal. A clichéd opening? Sure. But it gave me gooseflesh, and I loved it! And of course, there is that remarkable scene near the beginning of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, in which the young hero, walking through the woods, happens upon a human ear. I believe that a lot of the power and appeal of any narrative flows from its initial image of trouble. It’s the imaginative flash of lightning that illuminates the path into the story—for writer and reader alike. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“The crime is grisly and the cop is complicated. A nice combination.”--New York Daily News
“For anyone who loves a good puzzle, John's Verdon's SHUT YOUR EYES TIGHT is the easy answer.”--CNN.com
"Verdon, who hit a home run with his debut novel, THINK OF A NUMBER, has now nailed another one."--Booklist (Starred review)
"Absorbing complications, perfect pacing and a conflicted protagonist (endearing for his introspection)...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." Library Journal (starred review)
"Verdon follows THINK OF A NUMBER, his sensational debut featuring retired NYPD detective Dave Gurney, with this standout sequel, set a year later. [The elements:] a bizarre, high-profile murder…an apparent impossibility involving the murder weapon, and once again…a relationship in crisis."--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
From the Hardcover edition.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
What's not to like? We have early-retired NY police detective Gurney, still at the top of his game, living out in the verdant countryside with his happily countrified wife, Madeleine. But Gurney is having a hard time wrapping his mind around the fact that he ain't doing what he does best any more - tracking down the really bad guys.
So he lectures at the police academy (great reading about his teaching techniques BTW), and tries to seem reluctant (to Madeleine) when he's offered a job consulting on a horrific murder.
There are predatory women, unattached heads, footprints that disappear, coyotes that come and go, sex addicts, dumb ex-detectives that are Roofied because I guess they've never heard "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," a long-time marriage between total opposites with all its ups and downs, an audition for White-Trash Poster Boy (great designation), foreign gangsters.
I love this driven character that Verdon has created in Dave Gurney. And I also love his wife and their marriage. I love the puzzles he presents us in his books and the in-depth characterization.
This is a book I will be keeping and reading again in the future. I love Verdon's writing style - and because of that, I did not feel "Shut Your Eyes Tight" was too long at all. I savored each and every word.
Retired NYPD homicide detective Dave Gurney was always a clever puzzle solver when on the job. Now he's retired, at forty-eight, his wife, Madeleine, and he living on an eighty acre place in New York. He occasionally lectures at the police academy in Albany, but his biggest thing to worry about these days is whether to use manure on the asparagus plants.
He still feels the tug though.
A man who retired early because he got tired of the papers categorizing him as a supercop, he's already allowed himself to be pulled back into the life once(THINK OF A NUMBER)and it very nearly cost him his life, endangering Madeleine as well.
He still feels the tug though.
When his ex-partner comes to him with a case, he's drawn in once more. His poartner had been pulled off the case for telling his boss that the direction the police were going in was wrong. He needs Gurney's unique talents on this one.
Here's the set-up: a young bride is found on her wedding day just before the toast, sitting in a chair in the gardener's cottage, decapitated with the head perched on a table facing the body. The gardener has disappeared, along with the neighbor's wife. Bloodhounds follow a trail into the woods for a hundred-fifty yards where a bloody machete is found. The trail also ends there.
The girl's mother insists on hiring Gurney to investigate, hang the cost, and find the murderer. She's not satisfied with police efforts.
As he digs into the case, Gurney learns some disturbing things about the young woman, her husband and his school for disturbed young women, i.e. sexual predators, themselves victims of incest and sexual abuse in younger days.Read more ›
Verdon's formula continues with Guerney promising his patient, passive-aggressive wife that he isn't cheating on her with his love of detection and that the quiet country life she adores is just what he wants as well. The reader knows he's lying the minute he meets the psychiatric genius who was the bridegroom.
This is a great set-up. Unfortunately, the book is more than 500 bloated pages of Guerney's doubts, his conflicts with his wife and the official police investigating the case and recapping the little that is known over and over and over again. Guerney, the great NYPD detective, is taken in by the promise of fame and fortune by an art collector who he never even Googles before going to the stranger's house. He keeps crucial information to himself, pretends to be Tony Soprano on an unauthorized interrogation and manages once again to be in jeopardy at the climax. His wife turns on a dime with no reason given. If Verdon had stronger editing and worked on the show, don't tell, this could have been an even stronger novel than his debut. If Verdon cuts the recaps and unnecessary information (a paragraph devoted to an open window late in the story kept me wondering who was going to come through it), and builds up the connection between the motivation in the case and his own emotional journey, the result would be fantastic.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't normally go for series, but there's something about Dave Gurney, retired detective with a difficult marriage and a tough time staying idle, that invites revisiting. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Mia
John Verdon tells a story of suspense with twists and turns throughout. A fascinating story with great detail and one you won't put down until finished. Read morePublished 22 days ago by odgbubba
I enjoyed Think of a Number quite thoroughly, so I decided to continue with the series. This second book was still good, but I found myself skimming to get through parts. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Jeffrey P. Coffman
It is a great book and a a great collection of characters! You will enjoy the plot, intrigue and relationships.Published 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
This is a first for me: not being able to put a book down, a book in which I do not care for the characters. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amy Slager
Really well-written and tense. I didn't really anticipate the ending until very close to the end. Definitely a thriller.Published 1 month ago by cheryln52
A real page Turner with lots of twists and turns. This was the first Dave Gurney novel for me but I intend to read more of them.Published 2 months ago by California Girl
It took a few chapters to hook me on the book but once I got into the novel it was hard to put it down. The ending was a big surprise. Read morePublished 2 months ago by betty paulus
Can a dedicated police detective ever really retire? As a way of life, for 25 years, is it possible for a man to simply become another kind of person, one not used to introspection... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Hoot( retired AF Col.)