Title: Eyes Wide Open
Author: Andrew Gross
Release Date: July 12, 2011
Publisher: William Morrow
Rating: 4 out of 5
When Dr. Jay Erlich receives news from his brother Charlie that his nephew, Evan, has committed suicide, he is in shock. Though Evan inherited Jay’s brother’s bipolar disorder, he thought that Evan was getting help for his illness. When Jay travels out to California and starts digging into Evan’s suicide, he finds more and more questions, and the trail leads to a 1970’s cult, which whom Charlie may have been involved.
Eyes Wide Open is a thrilling ride that begins with the questions behind Evan’s suicide. When it became clear that Evan might harm himself or someone else, his parents did the responsible thing and had him committed. However, he was released just days after the incident. Gross gives the reader a brief but eye opening look at the shameful resources that the mentally ill have in our society. It is a difficult thing to involuntarily commit your own child, but Charlie and his wife did the right thing, ensuring that Evan could not harm himself or anyone else. The fact that the hospitals and doctors failed him is difficult to swallow.
But as Jay tries to find out why the hospital released his nephew so quickly after his suicide threat, he uncovers disturbing evidence that makes it seem like Evan may not have killed himself. Jay finds himself more and more involved in the case, and though he makes missteps along the way, he is determined to uncover the truth behind his nephew’s death, no matter the cost.
Andrew Gross is a master at ratcheting up suspense. He takes the reader on chilling twists and turns, and it’s difficult to predict where the story will end up. I loved his incorporation of cults into this novel, as it gave the reader the opportunity to delve into that disturbing culture. He is a talented writer and does a wonderful job exploring the different themes he presents in his work, while also maintaining his suspenseful tone.
I enjoyed Eyes Wide Open and hope that the revelation at the end of the book means that Gross will be writing a sequel. In the meantime, I’m eager to go explore Gross’ previous works, as he is a talented auteur of mysteries.