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Dave Gurney, retired NYPD homicide investigator, is back in Shut Your Eyes Tight, the sequel to the international bestseller Think of a Number
Dave Gurney, a few months past the Mellery case that pulled him out of retirement and then nearly killed him, is trying once again to adjust to his country house’s bucolic rhythms when he receives a call about a case so seductively bewildering that the thought of not looking into it seems unimaginable—even if his beloved wife, Madeleine, would rather he do anything but.
The facts of what has occurred are horrible: a blushing bride, newly wed to an eminent psychiatrist and just minutes from hearing her congratulatory toast, is found decapitated, her head apparently severed by a machete. Though police investigators believe that a Mexican gardener killed the young woman in a fit of jealous fury, the victim’s mother—a chilly high-society beauty—is having none of it. Reluctantly drawn in, Dave is quickly buffeted by a series of revelations that transform the bizarrely monstrous into the monstrously bizarre.
Underneath it all may exist one of the darkest criminal schemes imaginable. And as Gurney begins deciphering its grotesque outlines, some of his most cherished assumptions about himself are challenged, causing him to stare into an abyss so deep that it threatens to swallow not just him, but Madeleine, too.
Verdon follows Think of a Number, his sensational debut featuring retired NYPD detective Dave Gurney, with this standout sequel, set a year later. A bizarre, high-profile murder near Gurney's Catskills home puts his already shaky marriage to the test. Four months earlier, "controversial hotshot psychiatrist" Scott Ashton went looking for his spoiled rich-girl bride, Jillian Perry, after he noticed she was missing from their wedding reception at his lavish estate. Ashton discovered her decapitated body sitting in a chair, with her head posed on a table, in the gardener's cottage. The police, who found a machete covered with the victim's blood in the nearby woods, are sure the killer is Ashton's trusted Mexican gardener, Hector Flores, who disappeared after the brutal crime. Perry's eccentric mother, who's unsparing in recounting her daughter's emotional problems, gives Gurney a blank check to locate Flores. Verdon tosses in an apparent impossibility involving the murder weapon, and once again sensitively depicts a relationship in crisis.