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Land of the Blindby Jess Walter
Synopses & Reviews
Jess Walter's widely acclaimed debut thriller, Over Tumbled Graves, matched a genre-bending plot with exceptional intelligence and human insight. A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, it was praised in the Washington Post Book World as a work of "tremendous emotional impact," and James Patterson wrote that Walter had "just about lapped the field with his superior first novel."
Now Walter returns to up the ante once again. Land of the Blind brings back Spokane police detective Caroline Mabry — and pits her in a battle of wits against a mysterious, yet oddly familiar figure who appears one Friday night, seeming disoriented and wearing an eye patch. He has a confession to make, the man announces, but he insists on writing it out — and it may take a while.
Nineteen hours later — with the stranger still writing — Caroline finds herself scrambling to investigate not merely a murder, but the story of two men's darkly intertwined lives...and to find the body that awaits her, somewhere in the city.
The result is a novel of rich characterization and riveting suspense: by turns haunting and witty, but always compelling, Land of the Blind is that rare thing — a suspense novel that is genuinely original.
"Spokane detective Caroline Mabry, the heroine of Walter's acclaimed debut, Over Tumbled Graves, returns in a supporting role in this new thriller. Burned out on the job and stuck in the night shift, Caroline is in the station house when Clark Mason stumbles in after midnight, needing to confess to a murder. With his fitted shirt, long tousled hair and eye patch (all three black), Clark intrigues Caroline, even as she chastises herself for the vague attraction. Before long, he's frenziedly writing his story on a series of legal pads, and she's following up on the leads that spill from his lips as he writes. His flashbacks stretch as far back as childhood, when Clark alternately befriends and betrays the intense misfit Eli Boyle. The first betrayal occurs when Clark is caught between scapegoat Eli and scary preteen bully Pete Kramer. Adolescence, with its romantic predicaments, only complicates the relationship between these three. As Clark's narrative rolls slowly forward in time, Caroline tracks down the people he mentions. Walter is at his incisive best juxtaposing the characters in the present with their childhood selves. Spokane is carefully rendered in all its moody complexity. Wracked by urban blight and an inferiority complex (it's no Seattle), the city holds an ineffable attraction for both Caroline and Clark. Similarly, Walter's novel takes sketchy detours and its characters repel as much as compel, but lucid writing and a palpable sense of nostalgia make it hypnotically compelling." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] mystery novel of uncommon depth....A haunting, deeply troubling novel." Booklist (Starred Review)
"[S]omber, absorbing....Walter uses the terse police procedural as framework for what becomes a flowing story of character....Walter renders his blind land with a clear-eyed, compassionate vision." Kirkus Reviews
"Walter keeps the suspense at a high level to the very end; fans will want more of Mabry and possibly Mason, too. This compelling, intelligent novel, with its strong section on childhood and keen insights throughout, is highly recommended." Library Journal
In this fiendishly clever and darkly funny novel, Jess Walter speaks deeply to the bonds and compromises we make as children — and the fatal errors we can make at any moment in our lives.
While working the weekend night shift, Caroline Mabry, a weary Spokane police detective, encounters a seemingly unstable but charming derelict. "I'd like to confess," he proclaims. But he insists on writing out his confession in longhand. In the forty-eight hours that follow, the stranger admits to not just a crime, but an entire life: a wry and haunting tale of poverty and politics, of obsession and revenge. And as he writes, Caroline pushes herself to near collapse, racing against the clock to investigate not merely a murder, but the story of two men's darkly intertwined lives.
About the Author
Jess Walter is the author of three other novels, The Zero, Citizen Vince and Over Tumbled Graves, a New York Times Notable book. He is also the author of the nonfiction book Every Knee Shall Bow (Ruby Ridge) and coauthor of Christopher Darden's bestselling memoir, In Contempt. Walter also writes essays, screenplays, short stories, and poetry. He lives with his family in Spokane, Washington.
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