The Shut Eye
March 12, 2015
Like a fresh breeze filled with the subtle scent of lemons, Belinda Bauer’s sixth novel, The Shut Eye, is that rarest of things: the complete crime fiction novel.
Five footprints are the only sign that Daniel Buck was ever here. And now they are all his mother has left. Every day, Anna Buck guards the little prints in the cement. Polishing them to a shine. Keeping them safe. Spiralling towards insanity. When a psychic offers hope, Anna grasps it. Who wouldn't? Maybe he can tell her what happened to her son...But is this man what he claims to be?
When meeting Anna Buck, the over-riding feeling is one of sympathy that borders on pity. However, as more and more of her persona is revealed so do the intricacies of her life which draws readers closer to her. DCI John Marvel, in contrast, holds all the warmth of candle in Antarctica. His curmudgeonly demeanour, self-obsessed outlook and deep rooted cynicism is the perfect counter-balance to Anna’s plight, and also provides some of the wittiest writing that the genre has to offer.
This is Bauer’s great skill: to delve beneath her character’s skin and bring to the fore a reality that is almost tangible, so that we become voyeurs – Rubberneckers, to quote another of Bauer’s successes – to that which is taking place. In addition, the lightning pace with which she imbues just about every paragraph demands that the novel is read in almost one sitting as to break the moment is to dilute the enjoyment of reading it.
In short, Belinda Bauer’s The Shut Eye is unquestionably a Must Read of the highest order.