There are a handful of prerequisites, must haves, that a suspense thriller need to be successful. The starting point is a believable premise add to that a likeable lead character, a character that is easy to dislike and a handful of good old fashioned twists and turns and you’re on your way. If you happen to have the ability to toss in a couple of red herrings so the reader, or in this case the listener thinks they’ve got it all figured out even when they don’t and you’ve likely got a winner on your hands.
While she’s cranked out an armful of books including a couple of successful series, Close My Eyes, is my first exposure to the work of British author Sophie McKenzie. The setup of the premise is a successful couple, the wife an author and the husband a finance guru lose their baby at birth and it send their lives spiraling in very different directions. The wife loses her desire to write and ends up teaching part-time while the husband achieves new heights of success in his field.
Then one day comes a fateful knock on the door that changes everything. A mysterious women tells the wife, Geniver, that her baby girl didn’t die and is in fact alive and presumably out there somewhere. From there, it’s off to the races as Geniver tries to get to the bottom of what really happened to her baby.
While red herrings, false storylines that add to the tension and can throw the reader/listener off the scent of figuring out the story are great for driving tension and keeping the story moving, too much of a good thing can drive away the reader. Unfortunately, McKenzie may have overreached on the false leads; after a handful of false flags get tossed out, the ones that follow are too easy to dismiss.
Coupled with the inner turmoil and self-doubt expressed by Geniver at every turn and it puts the story off the rails. Close My Eyes still is a good story and Marissa Calin’s melodic English lilt is a good fit the passel of pip pip characters.