Gone Girl meets Before I Go to Sleep in this riveting psychological thriller about a grieving mother who finds out years after her daughter's death that her child may still be alive.
It's been eight grief-filled years since Geniver Loxley lost her daughter, Beth. Once a writer, Gen has settled into a life of half-hearted teaching while her husband, Art, makes his name and their fortune - and pressures her into yet another round of IVF. For Gen, battle-scarred from years of failed attempts to get pregnant with a second baby, this feels like a cruel attempt to replace Beth. Life without her child is inconceivable, 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 reluctant to get involved? To save his wife from further hurt? Or is it something else ... something more sinister? What is the truth about Beth Loxley?
Close My Eyes is a deeply chilling and addictively compelling page-turner that grabs onto the reader and doesn't let go.
"Although this novel is being touted as a read-alike for Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl (2012), it lacks the complexity and depth of that title; instead, it more closely resembles Elizabeth Haynes' slam-bang suspenser Into the Darkest Corner (2012)." - Booklist
"McKenzie's maiden thriller is a hit, even if it becomes a bit crowded in the process." - Kirkus
"Those who like their thrillers with heaping spoonfuls of romance will be satisfied." - Publishers Weekly
"Close My Eyes starts with a parent's worst nightmare and builds from there, twists and twists again, delivering a final punch that will leave you gasping." - Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Buried Secrets and Paranoia
"Every year I read a new psychological suspense novel by a new author that I rave about for months This year it's Close My Eyes. I literally cannot wait to start raving abou this book and it kills me it won't be published until summer. This is definitely one of my favorite books of 2013." Robin Beerbower, Salem Public Library
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Rated of 5
Close My Eyes
In her first adult novel and her first to be published in the USA, McKenzie vividly brings us every couple's nightmare. Not just the loss of a child after a much wanted and anticipated pregnancy that is essentially without complication to the heartbreaking and sudden delivery of a stillborn child. Not just a stillborn child but one who is reportedly so disfigured and misshapen that her very presence is hidden from the mother both at the hospital and later the funeral. The pain of a loss like this is overpowering and especially so as there can be no closure. The hopes, dreams and desires that accompany the birth of a child are suddenly dashed and ripped away without ceremony and the pain felt is akin to that of a missing limb for the mother. A pain, that unless one has experienced it themselves is inconceivable to friends, family and even the spouse. Pain that Geniver, the mother in question will never quite overcome no matter what therapy, support or encouragement she gets from the outside world. She has only to look in the mirror to see the results of that experience.
Fast forward 8 years. Her husband feels compelled that they visit a fertility expert to recapture what they lost and begins to apply pressure in this pursuit, refusing to concede and acknowledge what his wife and partner is still experiencing. A knock at the door brings it all back tenfold when a woman appears with a deathbed confession of her sister's that confirms the nagging suspicions that Geniver has felt. Her child IS alive and to make matters worse her husband has known this all along. While friends and family try to convince her that this is nothing more than a scheme to extort money from her the woman is the victim of a hit and run accident which only helps to fuel a paranoia that causes Geniver to question everyone and everything in her life. When a former friend of her husband's listens and offers to help her get to the bottom of the accusations, she embarks on a game worthy of some of the greatest English mystery writers of the past.
With shades of "Gaslight", "Bunny Lake is Missing" and a tip of the hat to "The Other and The Omen", Ms Mckenzie builds a maze of a mystery that would have attracted Hitchcock. I encourage readers to push past the beginning of what appears to be simply another example of "chick lit" or a soap opera and give in as we watch Geniver's life simultaneously spiral out of control and back again. While all have tried to make her feel inept and weak, we watch and cheer as she gains the strength to push forward to go beyond the smoke and mirrors to the spine tingling chilling last page. You won't be disappointed. One can only hope this is not the lone attempt by Ms. McKenzie in adult literature and we have many more to look forward to in the future.
Rated of 5
Tracy B. (New Castle, DE)
Two stories in one
Just who is writing The Special Child story? Is it a strange story that Gen in writing? She is an author.That in itself is a morbid twist.
Art is Gen's wealthy husband. Is he keeping a secret? What really happened to baby Beth? Gen & Lorcan are trying to cast off depressing & difficult pasts, or so we think. In this process they join together in the search for Beth. But just when you think you have figured out who you can trust it all changes again and again and again. Wonderful!
Rated of 5
Marta M. (Santa Ana, CA)
Good beach read
I enjoyed reading "Close My Eyes". It kept me reading even though I wanted to go to sleep. It moves quickly and I wanted to be the main character's best friend. It is a book you think about long after it has been read. I don't usually read many thrillers, but I would if they were as well written as this one.
Rated of 5
Shirley F. (Franksville, WI)
Chills and thrills
Close my eyes will probably be this year's Gone Girl because it is a psychological thriller but not as dark. It took me a while to get into the book, and I thought Gen was whiny and a little obsessive about the loss of the child 8 yrs previously. Art was too intense for me and I felt he pressed the IVF issue rather than letting Gen accept it. There were a lot of twists in the story and when I thought that I had it figured out, realized that there was more info to be had which changed my ideas. The diary writing and thought processing seemed too mature for the child to write. It was intriguing, painfully sad, and a little contrived but it had all the elements of a good story and will certainly appeal to a wide range of book groups.
Rated of 5
Lisa B. (Denton, TX)
Kept me on the edge of my seat
This story of Geniver and the mystery surrounding the death of her baby 8 years before was impossible to put down. It was difficult tell if she was losing her mind or if someone close to her was deceiving her. The comparisons to Gone Girl and Before I go to Sleep are spot on.
Rated of 5
Susan P. (Boston, MA)
Close My Eyes
A London woman very close to the end of her childbearing years still cannot forget her stillborn child from 8 years ago and is not sure whether she wants to keep trying IVF, as her husband wants. Then a stranger tells her that her child is alive. The news sends her into an obsessive hunt of trying to find the truth (good or bad) and trying to know whom to trust. An excellent page turner for readers of Rosamund Lupton, S. J. Watson, etc.
Sophie McKenzie is the bestselling author of more than fifteen novels for children and teens in the UK, including the award winning Girl, Missing and Blood Ties. She has won numerous awards, was one of the first Richard and Judy children's book club winners, and has twice been longlisted for the prestigious Carnegie Medal. She lives in London and writes full-time.
Visit Sophie at her website: www.sophiemckenziebooks.com; on Facebook: facebook.com/sophiemckenzieauthor; and on Twitter: @sophiemckenzie_
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