Book: Close My Eyes
Author: Sophie McKenzie
This book is Sophie McKenzie’s first book for adults, and was published last year. She is one of my favourite authors and over the last year or so, I have read and enjoyed most of her books for teenagers and am eagerly anticipating the release of Every Second Counts, the sequel to Split Second later next month. I have to admit this book is not my favourite one of hers that she has written, but it was still a good read. The beginning of the book was quite slow but it picked up towards the middle and the end was characteristic Sophie McKenzie fare-edge of your seat exciting as you finally found out the mystery that had been set up from the beginning of the book. Here is a short synopsis of the book:
It’s been eight years since Geniver Loxley lost her daughter Beth; eight years of grief in which nothing has really moved forward, for all that her husband Art wills it to. Gen, once a writer of novels, has settled into a life of half hearted teaching, while Art makes his name and their fortune-and pressures her into trying IVF again. For Gen, it seems like a cruel act of replacement, life without Beth is unthinkable, unbearable-but still it goes on. And then a woman arrives on Gen’s doorstep, saying the very thing she longs to hear: that her daughter was not stillborn, but was spirited away as a healthy child, and is out there, waiting to be found….So why is Art so reluctant to get involved? To save his wife from further hurt? Or something much more sinister? What is the truth about Beth Loxley?
I felt the beginning was a little slow, but the beginnings of most stories are and it helps set up the mystery for the novel-each chapter leaves off with a cliffhanger that makes you want to read the next chapter and as a reader you do feel like Gen at times, trying to work out who you can trust and who you can’t. I think the plot is a little far fetched-I’m not sure something like this could actually happen in real life but it makes for interesting reading so I didn’t really care. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Gen as a character-at times I liked her and felt sympathetic towards her and at times I didn’t like her. Art, I didn’t like as soon as he was introduced-he seemed manipulative and I knew from the offset that he would have had something to do with it even before it was revealed. The characters in general weren’t particularly likeable, I never liked Art’s sister Morgan and I found that I couldn’t fully trust Lorcan either-he seemed too charming for his own good. As a mystery, it works well as it keeps you guessing and for me at least, I didn’t work out who took Gen’s baby until the big reveal at the end. McKenzie makes you suspicious of so many different characters through the book and yet the person who did it is someone who I never suspected-I actually didn’t think they were important to the story at all. The end was truly shocking-I had figured out who the child narrator was earlier in the book (though initially I thought it was Art or Gen as a child-it was not) but it was a chilling end and truly unexpected. The characters, whilst not all completely likeable are very well developed and you do get a real sense of what motivates each character and why they act the way they act-which is good, I don’t mind if I don’t like characters in a book as long as they are well developed and I felt Sophie McKenzie did this well. The end of the book makes you want a sequel because you want to find out what the child does next, but I don’t think that is going to happen-the book felt like it came to a natural end.
Through the book, you never really know if Gen’s child is alive or no-McKenzie offers different explanations as to what may have happened to her baby and I was never sure if her baby really was alive or if she was just unstable and wishing for her baby to be alive-you can easily see why Gen could be seen as unstable as her story is hard to believe and you don’t find out the truth until the last part of the book. I fell pray to believing some of the red herrings that McKenzie used as well which made me as surprised as Gen was when the culprit was revealed. I did however guess at the affair between Lorcan and Gen as soon as he was introduced-but then I think that McKenzie made it pretty obvious to the readers anyway. Whilst I didn’t like Gen, I did feel that you could really sympathise with her and the fact that she’d lost her baby and I was just as desperate as she was to find out whether Beth was alive or not. Even if the book had been terrible (which it wasn’t) the end saved it because it was very intense and gripping and I felt like I couldn’t put the book down which I did not feel at the beginning of the book.
This may not be my favourite one of McKenzie’s books as I feel her teen thrillers have gripped me more-which is understandable considering that I am a teen-but it is a well written, gripping (for the most part) book with an intriguing mystery running through it and I would definitely recommend reading it, especially if you are a McKenzie fan because it is nice to read a book by her about a different topic but it still has some of the signature characteristics of her books. She is one of my favourite authors and I can’t wait to read what she writes next.
The next book I am going to be reviewing is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I’ve heard good things about this book, so I am hoping it will not disappoint me.