Monday, November 7, 2011

Blinded by Our Eyes by Clare London

TITLE: Blinded by Our Eyes
AUTHOR: Clare London
PUBLISHER: Carina Press
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 45k)
GENRE: Gay mystery erotic romance
COST: $3.59

Charles walks into his gallery to find one of his up-and-coming artists murdered with his ex-lover covered in the man’s blood. Joseph is shaken by the crime, but his alibi holds up, leaving Charles and the police wonder months later just who is responsible…

I’m going to be in a minority on this book. I know a lot of people loved it, and I went into it with high hopes, but in spite of adoring the first chapter, I was bored to tears by a third of the way through.

It’s the story of London gallery owner Charles as he attempts to try and find out who exactly is responsible for killing Paolo, a sculptor he was sponsoring he had high hopes of doing well. Paolo’s body is discovered in the gallery with Joseph, Charles’s ex-lover, and when Joseph is clearly shaken and traumatized by the whole event, Charles takes him in. Weeks pass and the police are nowhere closer to getting answers. Charles begins to discover that perhaps he didn’t know the people who surround him as well as he thought he did and begins trying to ferret out who might have been responsible for the murder on his own.

Told in 1st person from Charles’s perspective, this is a mystery first and a romance second. The love interest, Antony, doesn’t even get introduced until well into the story, leaving the feeling that the entire romantic angle was shoe-horned in so it wasn’t just a mystery. While he’s a nice foil for the oddly innocent Charles, by the time he came onto the scene, I was already struggling to stay engaged with the story. He didn’t really stand much of a chance with me at all.

That bothers me, actually. I loved the first chapter. It was vivid, gut-wrenching, and emotional. The second chapter faded a bit for me because of the odd jump at the start of it, but I still held out high hopes. The third chapter jumps to weeks later, and we discover much of what happened in the interim, as well as information that would have come out during the police interrogations in chapter two, in a long, dull conversation that had none of the sparkle and vibrancy of the author’s descriptive voice. I got increasingly annoyed by the surprise background information that was sprung on me at the end of the third chapter, and never really recovered from that.

Part of this stems from the fact that Charles is such an unreliable narrator, and while I’d like to blame the device for the reason the story doesn’t work for me, I can’t because I’ve enjoyed stories with other unreliable narrators before. It just comes down to the execution, because the descriptive prose and editing are excellent. Though it’s told in 1st person, I felt an awful disconnect with everything going on due to the methods chosen to convey the necessary information. I’m choosing to see my negative experience with this as an anomaly. The author has a great voice, and I’ve had other good reads with her work. Just not with this one.


6/10 – Lush voice didn’t end up helping to involve me in the story, bored to tears by a third of the way in

Hero #1

7/10 – Sweet and oddly innocent in spite of his age and experience

Hero #2

4/10 – A good foil for the narrator, but came too late in the story for me to care about

Entertainment value

3/10 – Love author’s voice, but the vast jumps and odd juxtaposition of recapping against sudden surprising background information annoyed me early, then bored me

World building

7/10 – A strong feel for the art world and moments



No comments: