“This may not be a prison, and it may not be purgatory, but it’s sure as hell not a paradise, either. This is the Blinds.”
Imagine a place populated by criminals—people plucked from their lives, with their memories altered, who’ve been granted new identities and a second chance. Welcome to the Blinds, a dusty town in rural Texas populated by misfits who don’t know if they perpetrated a crime or just witnessed one. What’s clear to them is that if they leave, they will end up dead.
For eight years, Sheriff Calvin Cooper has kept an uneasy peace, but after a suicide and a murder in quick succession, the town’s residents revolt. Cooper has his own secrets to protect, so when his new deputy starts digging, he needs to keep one step ahead of her—and the mysterious outsiders who are threatening to tear the whole place down. The more Cooper learns, the more the hard truth is revealed: The Blinds is no sleepy hideaway. It’s simmering with violence and deception, aching heartbreak and dark betrayals.
*Starred Review* Sternbergh's new stand-alone thriller doesn't feel much like his bravura Spademan novels. It's much smaller in its frame and much more focused in its story, but it does bear what has become this very talented novelist's signature: a knack for finding humanity and passion in otherwise flattened, soul-killing landscapes. Here that landscape is very different than the dystopian, post–dirty bomb New York of the Spademan series. The Blinds is a dusty, one-horse Texas town far off the grid, sleepy on the surface but roiling underneath. The town is the creation of a mad scientist able to remove specific parts of an individual's memory. This technique replaces witness protection as a way of luring heinous criminals to testify against their bosses: their memories will be cleansed of the evil they have done, and they will be relocated to the Blinds, where they will spend the rest of their lives doing . . . well, nothing, but doing it without fear of reprisal. Until now. Two murders in the Blinds have Sheriff Calvin Cooper worried that the town's delicate balance is seriously out of plumb. Boy, is he right—in ways we don't see coming. Cleverly improvising on the chord changes common to classic westerns (especially High Noon) and evoking the locked-room horror of Jim Thompson's The Getaway, Sternbergh shows again why he is one of the most inventive thriller writers working today. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
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.)
Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.