cover image The Blinds

The Blinds

Adam Sternbergh. Ecco, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-266134-0

Guilt, memory, and redemption swirl through this inventive science-fiction-based thriller from Edgar-finalist Sternbergh (Shovel Ready). In Caesura, an isolated Texas town that’s part penal colony, part rehabilitation experiment, Sheriff Calvin Cooper keeps the peace in a community that mixes the most savage of criminals with the victims of horrible crimes. What allows the two groups to coexist is that all their memories have been selectively edited to erase their recollections of their respective crime experiences. The fragile calm shatters when first one, then two residents are shot dead in a place where guns don’t officially exist. As the wider world intrudes, Cooper must handle new arrivals, work with the shadowy institute that has supplied the research and technology for memory editing, and defend his town against cynical outside forces that could burst the bubble that defines Cooper’s world. It’s a clever premise, but the many contrivances that support the plot don’t hold up as the novel moves briskly toward its conclusion, whose twists are telegraphed a little too clearly to preserve the element of surprise. Agent: David McCormick, McCormick Literary. (Aug.)