Blind Spot

Judy Mercer, Author Pocket Books $23.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-671-03424-5
How people react to sudden, personal tragedy is the question at the center of Mercer's latest Ariel Gold page-turner, which opens when Ariel's friend and yoga teacher, Laya, is blinded by a bottle of eyedrops that contains a corrosive chemical. The incident sends Laya on a soul-searching mission and prompts Ariel, an L.A. television news correspondent, to search for answers about why Laya was maimed. What the police are treating as a product-tampering incident is actually tied to the beating death of a man later identified as James Price, a crime that Laya witnessed and did not report. She was seen by one of the killers, however. Meanwhile, Ariel has her own identity questions. An amnesiac with only a few years of memory, she is confused when a San Rafael woman named Dorothy writes her letters referring to old conversations and dropping ominous hints about a murderer. Is Dorothy a forgotten old friend or a piece of the Price murder puzzle? The plot lines converge when another witness to the Price murder is beaten to death, and Laya enrolls in the Marin Guide Dog Academy in San Rafael. Until this point in the story, the suspense is undercut by the leisurely pace, but once the tale tightens up, it moves swiftly to a tense and satisfying conclusion. Even so, the plot takes a back seat to Ariel, the book's winning element, who is desperate for memories of her dead twin sister, Jane, and slowly comes to terms with her lost past. In her, Mercer (Split Image; Double Take) has created a modern and believable heroine who finds herself in a strange world where every incident may reveal the secrets of her unknown personal history. When Ariel's vulnerability takes center stage, the novel acquires complexity and resonance, but when her amnesia becomes irrelevant, the novel's title could well refer to Mercer's lack of vision about what makes her main character unique and fascinating. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
Mass Market Paperbound - 464 pages - 978-0-671-03425-2
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