From the New York Times bestselling author of Ordinary People comes a gripping novel of suspense, exploring fragile family dynamics in the aftermath of tragedy...
Acclaimed author Judith Guest makes a triumphant return with this poignant and powerful novel that's sure to add luster to her reputation as one of the most thoughtful observers of the human condition.
Taking as part of her inspiration a baffling, unsolved true-life crime, Guest achieves in this absorbing new novel an extraordinary combination of page-turning mystery and intimate, emotionally charged family drama.
The Tarnished Eye takes readers to the community of Blessed, in northern Michigan, where Sheriff Hugh DeWitt still grieves for his infant son, who died of SIDS a few years earlier. Obsessed with the past, he's endangering his future with his beloved wife and daughter.
Meanwhile, up the road from the DeWitts, in one of the rich summer cottages, Paige Norbois grieves for a lost love of her own. Married to a stern and unresponsive man, Paige wills herself to stay in the marriage and sacrifice her personal feelings for the sake of her children's stability.
But soon an unimaginable tragedy destroys all dreams of stability in Blessed. Paige, her husband, Edward, and their four children are brutally slaughtered in their home. Sheriff DeWitt, deeply moved by the horrific murder scene, must find answers to a string of urgent questions.
When, exactly, did the murders occur? Why did nobody miss the family earlier? Who had a motive to kill? The man with whom Paige was having an affair? The business partner, who was stealing from Edward's publishing firm? Which family member was the primary, intended victim? And above all, what sort of trauma could fuel a killer's capacity to commit such hate-driven violence?
Judith Guest, with her own untarnished eye and finely nuanced prose, delivers a novel that transcends genre and showcases once again her remarkable literary gifts.
Loosely based on an actual unsolved crime that occurred in Michigan in the late 1960s, this tightly paced, gripping thriller is imbued with substance, sensitivity and depth. County sheriff Hugh DeWitt and his wife are still reeling three years after the SIDS death of their infant son and struggling to sustain a normal life for the sake of their 10-year-old daughter. The emotionally scarred DeWitt, once an overeager lawman, now cherishes the beauty of days "where nothing happens" in his quiet community. Though he knows all of the town's year-round residents by name, no one seems to know any of the affluent families who come to summer in anonymity along the bluffs of Lake Michigan. The Norbois are a classic example: the father a high-energy publishing executive, the mother and four kids a poster family for upper-middle-class values. When a handyman reports seeing something strange, DeWitt goes to investigate and finds they've all been ceremoniously executed and left to rot inside their palatial vacation retreat. Suddenly, DeWitt is on an emotional trail that jerks him back and forth between reflections on the anniversary of his son's death, the horrific murder scene and the serial rape/murders of a handful of University of Michigan coeds. As the point of view shifts from sheriff to victims and back again, Guest (Errands, etc.) keeps the plot moving along apace, creating a finely tuned page-turner.
Compelling murder mystery
Based on a real life murder that is still unsolved, Guest weaves a story told through the eyes of the investigator and victims. As she fleshes out the characters, this novel is more than the typical "who done it". A very good read.