cover image Shut Your Eyes Tight

Shut Your Eyes Tight

John Verdon. Crown, $23 (432p) ISBN 978-0-30771-789-4

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. (July)