Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Book Review: Trust Your Eyes

Copyright © 2015, Steven E. Houchin. All rights reserved.

Author Lynwood Barclay's 2012 thriller Trust Your Eyes begins where any thriller or mystery should, with what we writers call "the inciting incident."  In this case, mildly schizophrenic Thomas Kilbride believes he sees a murder online.

Thomas is obsessed with maps. The walls of his room and the hallway outside are papered with them. He believes some cataclysm will wipe out all online maps, and he'll be the only one left with paper ones. He discovers a web site named Whirl360 (a thinly veiled reference to Google Street View) that allows him to "walk" streets around the world.  So, he spends all day in his room web-walking Whirl360's streets to memorize everything he sees, which he has the brilliance to do.

Trust Your Eyes image
One day, while web-walking a street in New York City, he looks up at an apartment building window and sees a person's head. A plastic bag is squeezed tightly over it.  A murder in progress, frozen in time by Whirl360's drive-by camera.  Thomas convinces his skeptical brother, Ray, to travel to New York City to investigate.  Ray discovers nothing unusual. The apartment is empty and he's told the girls who lived there have moved away.  He does nothing to dig deeper, but his arrival asking questions is noticed by the wrong people - those who ordered the murder.

The murder is orchestrated by Howard Talliman, the campaign strategist of an ambitious politician, to cover up previous dirty deeds by the politician, who plans to run for governor. Ray's snooping leads Howard's henchman to the picture in Whirl360.  Stunned by what they see, they decide the image must be scrubbed out. He sends a hit woman to the Whirl360 headquarters, who then forces the engineer in charge to wipe the image of the head from the picture before killing him and his wife.

When the head image suddenly disappears from Whirl360, Ray is convinced Thomas was right. It was a murder, and someone made the change just after his visit to New York.

As the story progresses, Howard's henchman tries to find Ray's identity, while at the same time Ray, Thomas, and a friend attempt to discover all they can about the murder so they can take a convincing story to the police.  The tension grows as Howard's operatives discover Ray's whereabouts and set out to eliminate them as loose ends.

Trust Your Eyes keeps you engaged all along, and includes other subplots that entangle Ray as he and Thomas struggle with the murder mystery.

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