Blinded By Our Eyes by Clare London
London art dealer Charles Garrett has devoted his life to appreciating and acquiring beauty, both in art and in his companions. His fashionable life is rocked to the core when he discovers the body of a young artist, Paolo Valero, in a pool of blood in his gallery.As Paolo-s mentor, Charles is haunted by the horror of his violent death. Seeking closure, he investigates Paolo-s past and soon discovers a tangled web of motives and potential suspects, some closer to home than he ever imagined. He-s drawn to Antony Walker, an aggressive, handsome sculptor with unsavory ties to Paolo. Charles is unsettled by Antony-s forceful nature but irresistibly attracted to his passion and his art.When the evidence points toward Antony-s guilt, Charles is thrown into emotional turmoil. Has he lost his heart to a killer?
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
I’m pretty impressed that the author could take a classic mystery with a few obvious clichés but craft the story in such a way that the clichés work pretty well and the mystery is interesting, adept, and clever. It’s not perfect and the ending especially didn’t work for me as it felt like the lone mistake in a good story but the villain and reasoning behind the murder is emotional and fascinating. For readers looking for a solid murder mystery and can look beyond a few awkward contrivances, definitely think about picking this up.
Art dealer Charles arrives at his gallery after a trip to find an artist dead in a bloody pool and Charles’ ex lover, devastated at the scene. The gruesome murder of a promising artist preys on Charles’ mind as does the subtle accusation from the police that Charles’ ex lover Joseph may be a suspect. When Charles starts to realize that Paolo, a talented artist Charles adored, may have been completely different, Charles starts to question his own assumptions. Now suddenly seeing behavior, comments, and subtly that he’s always ignored, Charles starts to wonder if he’s been blind to everything. He’s now worried that his own ignorance could result in Paolo’s murderer being someone Charles even knows.
The murder mystery aspect is the central aspect of the plot and it’s well crafted for most of the story. Although the set up may feel rather clichéd and typical – innocent civilian gets caught up in a murder that they decide to solve on their own – here the story does a commendable job in offering complex reasons for Charles’ involvement. He starts to wonder who killed Paolo mostly due to his slow realization that he’s been blinded to a lot of things around him. Realizing that Paolo may not have been the kind, gentle artist he thought he knew, Charles questions his thoughts about his employees and friends. This is an interesting take and helps carry the story for why Charles is digging into Paolo’s death. Yes he’s trying to figure out who did it, but he’s more so trying to figure out if he’s right or wrong in reading people.
This helps keeps the ultimate culprit a mystery and the tension high as the reader follows Charles’ first person point of view. You learn quickly that Charles is not a reliable narrator since he views the world through his own bias. Once realizing this Charles is scared, uncertain, and determined to figure out the truth. He wants to know if he’s really been so blind for so long or is someone fooling him. The cast is well characterized and given good depth. Charles comes across as an interesting mix of innocence, naïveté, and ambivalence. He is the impetus for a lot of his own issues, which he slowly comes to realize. Buffeted with his almost rose colored glasses, he’s ignored reality and coming to grips with that harshness changes him.
The romance between Antony and Charles is rushed, although there is dynamic chemistry. Their scenes together are explosive on many levels and show some of the best use of subtly, description and conversation. Charles’ wild ideas towards Antony cause a lot of passion and emotion, both good and bad. These scenes are especially nice to give tension and fear as Charles realizes he can’t simply accuse random people of his wild assumptions. Their instant passion is easy to believe, although Antony’s later actions feel scripted and less authentic. I didn’t believe their easy resolution but as that’s not the focus, I could ignore that honestly.
The great descriptive prose gives the book an interesting appeal. It has a languid writing yet the pace feels quick and interesting. It never slows down or gets boring and the ending is clever and explosive. The final culprit offers a brilliant explanation of the emotional, physical, and psychological reasons for the murder and the entire scene is fraught with tension and drama. The only downside to this is what I felt to be a totally cliché contrivance. I don’t want to give too many spoilers and I don’t consider this a huge one but skip over if you don’t want to read it – the villain confesses all. This didn’t make much sense with the complex personality afforded the culprit. Either they’re an emotional wreck or a cunning genius and really they are portrayed as both; yet their final actions didn’t support this fully. I found it to be an easy way to wrap up the mystery and frankly that contrivance is annoying in murder mysteries. Yet this is definitely reader dependant and some may not mind. I enjoyed reading the story despite this.
Overall I enjoyed reading Blinded by Our Eyes for the great cast and compelling mystery. It’s not perfect but the charm of the main characters translates very well and the story sucks you in. The small details, carefully worded dialogue, and incorporation of art crafts a great backdrop to a classic tale with a fresh spin. Although the final ending bugged me I still recommend this to readers if you’re looking for a solid and interesting story.
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4 thoughts on “Blinded By Our Eyes by Clare London”
Many thanks for your thorough and thoughtful review, I appreciate it :).
Most welcome. You may help change my view of CP if they continue in this vein. Congrats on the release!
That’s an extra encoragement for me, many thanks :).
Especially as I’m trying to finish off my next novella with them at this very minute. Not, alas, out until 2011, and not a murder mystery this time – it’s a paranormal suspense/romance :).
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