Hey y’all! Welcome to my first attempt at writing a book review. I’ve got my book within reach, a glass of 19 Crimes red in hand (what can I say, I’m doing it for the theme!), and a shih tzu that is personally offended that I’m typing on my laptop and not playing with him. I know, how dare I?! Let’s get started with reviewing The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh!
The Blinds created such an amazing concept… think: Westworld meets The 100. A witness protection program to the extreme, the citizens of Caesura opted to erase the memories of the crimes they committed (or witnessed) and live the remainder of their lives in blissful oblivion. What happens when their safe little bubble is burst by two possible murders? Well, you’ll just have to read the book (or the spoilers!) to find out. The book is framed as beginning on Monday and ending on Friday, and very little remains the same from the start to the finish. So much can change throughout a week!
I’m also going to say something that as
a book worm an avid reader I never thought I’d say: I really wish this was a television series. Wait, what?! Am I even allowed to say that? Just bear with me…I could hear the suspenseful music when you know something bad is about to happen, I could see the person staring suspiciously as someone turns and walk away, I could even see the cliffhangers where the episode ends and you yell at your TV because HOW COULD THEY LEAVE YOU HANGING FOR ANOTHER WEEK?! On second thought, I’m so thankful it’s a book and I could continue going without that awful waiting process.
It did get a little confusing at times because you are introduced to so many characters, both briefly and more extensively, by their original name and their Caesura name, so it took quite a bit of effort to distinguish who’s who. I also felt the character development was lacking, but I suppose that comes with the whole “most of your characters don’t actually know why they’re in the Blinds because their back story was erased” plot line.
Overall, I think I’m going to give this 4 stars because I really loved the story line and the suspense. It was a very fast-paced, exciting read (once you got past the first 30 pages and the last 10 pages). I’ll definitely be checking out future books by Sternbergh!
==Full Synopsis (contains spoilers!)==
Will I remember what I did?
But will I know that I’ve forgotten it?
So I’ll know I did something bad, but I won’t know what it was.
You’ll know you made the decision to come to this place.
In Kettle County, Texas, there exists a secret town called Caesura (“Rhymes with tempura”), but its better known by its residents as the Blinds. It’s made up of a group of people that aren’t sure if they committed a serious crime or if they’re an innocent that just got caught up in a bad situation. Either way, they agreed to have their memories wiped and be kept in this secluded town with their safety guaranteed (as long as they stayed in the town). Once they arrive, they choose a new name from a list containing celebrity names and former vice president names to prevent their old lives from sneaking back in (side note: there’s a website where you can generate you own Caesura name!).
Fran Adams is one of the first residents of Caesura and the first person we meet. She has a son, Isaac (the only kid in the town), a strange tattoo of a series of numbers on her wrist, and a smoking habit she just can’t seem to kick. She struggles with the thought of raising her son in Caesura, but knows that anyone that attempts to leave risks finding someone from their past life with a vendetta against them.
After the first alleged suicide and murder in 8 years, Agent Rigo arrives to investigate and ensure that the incidents are isolated and being handled by the sheriff (known as Calvin Cooper) and his deputies. Both victims died at gun point by the same weapon that went missing weeks prior (that the sheriff is supposed to be the only one to have access to), but Cooper said they weren’t too concerned about it. He also claimed that they sent the gun and bullet away for testing at the Institute (LIES!). His newly appointed deputy, Sidney Dawes, picks up on the fact that this investigation has obviously been botched and tries to get Cooper to provide her with more information, to which he basically responds, “Why don’t you go door to door comforting everyone, even though we have no idea who did it, how they did it, or why they did it, but it’s fine.”
Sid decides to take matters into her own hands and starts her own investigation, leaving town to find a library to Google her way to the bottom of it. And answers does she find….*Dunn dunn dunnnnnn*
Meanwhile, Cooper is revealed to be the person who killed both victims; motive: a huge pile of cash from an anonymous source in exchange for their murders. He is also trying to convince Fran to run away with Isaac (using his blood money) and goes to visit Dr.Holliday, the founder of Caesura (after the death of her partner in development Dr. Fell), to figure out why Fran was in the Blinds. Was she an innocent or was she a criminal? Dr. Holliday revealed that there are no innocents there, that it was a ploy to give the residents a little hope.
After another death in the town, Rigo returns to Caesura with a team of agents, calls Dick (new Caesura resident, horrible white supremacist, psychopath, remorseless, selected his name perfectly) and lets him loose with assault rifles with only one rule: don’t shoot Cooper or Isaac. Rigo reveals that he was the one paying Cooper to murder the townspeople and that his boss was actually….Isaac’s father! Fran discovered that the father had perverse hobbies and shot him in the head (while secretly pregnant with Isaac); however, he made a miraculous recovery and she lived out her life in Caesura. When he decided to run for political office, he needed to eliminate anyone that could reveal these hobbies (the murder victims) and discovered that he had a son!
“It’s hard enough to live with what you’ve done. It’s immeasurably harder to live with knowing you’ve done something, but not knowing what exactly it is you did.”
After Dick is killed by one of the most notorious townspeople, the remainder of the residents gather in the church which doubles as a safe house (tornado proof, bulletproof, evil-plot proof). As Rigo begins to read off their files, several people decide to end their lives after finding out the horrible deeds they committed..then he reveals that Cooper is actually the reason why the town was created! He was the drunk driver that killed Dr. Fell, but they removed this memory and created this town as a result.
After this discovery and the death of Deputy Robinson, the remaining residents rally and overthrow the agents. They go in search of Dr. Holliday and request that the town remain open as it formerly was without outside threat. After much coercion, she agrees. In the end, the residents return to Caesura with the intent of reestablishing the town to it’s former
What did you think of The Blinds? Drop a comment below and let me know!
Now if you need me, I’ll be sipping my way through September and all the books I can get my hands on! -Kaylie
About the author, Adam Sternbergh
Author of SHOVEL READY, a thriller about a garbageman-turned-hitman in near-future dystopian NYC, blighted by a dirty bomb in Times Square. Currently the culture editor for the New York Times Magazine. Formerly editor-at-large at New York Magazine and editor of the Approval Matrix. Unstoppable reader. Genre-mutt advocate. Lowbrow-despicable, except when highbrow-brilliant.