The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer – 4*s

The Shut Eye

Description

Five footprints are the only sign that Daniel Buck was ever here.
And now they are all his mother has left.
Every day, Anna Buck guards the little prints in the cement. Polishing them to a shine. Keeping them safe. Spiralling towards insanity.
When a psychic offers hope, Anna grasps it. Who wouldn’t? Maybe he can tell her what happened to her son…
But is this man what he claims to be? Is he a visionary? A shut eye? Or a cruel fake, preying on the vulnerable?
Or is he something far, far worse?

The Shut Eye is a book that draws you in straight away, with the disappearance of 4 year old Daniel, who slipped outside when his father inadvertently leaves the front door open. All that remains as a clue are his footprints where he ran over wet cement. His grieving mother Anna, is beside herself and in desperation visits a local spiritualist church hoping for a message. She tries to pay the resident psychic Richard Latham to help her locate Daniel but to no avail.

Richard (the Shut Eye of the title) had previously been involved in a police search for a missing 14 year old girl Edie Evans that proved fruitless and is reluctant to be involved. I was unaware of the term Shut Eye before I read this book and have since discovered that “a shut eye is a performer who becomes so adept at the illusion of mind reading that the performer comes to believe that he or she actually possesses psychic powers” Whether he is actually real or fake you’d need to discover for yourself.

The cases of Daniel and Edie become connected when Anna herself is convinced she is having visions that relate to Edie’s disappearance and contacts DCI John Marvel who has never given up searching for Edie. Marvel is a brilliant character, as many effective detectives, he’s a bit of maverick and works to his own rules, that bring him into conflict with his superiors. When Anna contacts him he’s convinced she’s in league with Richard Latham, who he deems a fraud.

As the story unravels we get to discover both Edie’s and Daniel’s story with an ending that no-one could have envisaged. It’s a plot that certainly keeps you engaged and swings between hope and despair, with elements of black humour to keep things balanced. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more by this author.

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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