Thursday, March 27, 2014

Blindsided by "Blind Evil"

So after slogging through several chapters of my own book the last couple of weeks, I took time last night to attack my ever growing list of review books.  Yes, it's review time again.

Today we address Eric Praschan's psychological thriller Blind Evil.  Makes you think twice about who you befriend.

Book Blurb:
Sometimes you can be so close to evil, you can't even see it.

Police detective John Grayson's worst nightmare comes to life when he investigates a chilling double homicide and discovers that his best friend, David Vincent, is the prime suspect. As John unravels the mystery and trails the killer across Missouri, he finds himself caught in the web of David's twisted psychological schemes. The terror increases when Emily Dolon, the woman both John and David have loved since childhood, becomes the target of David's macabre mind games.

Trapped between his duty of solving the case and his devotion to his best friend, John struggles to find the truth, knowing he must execute justice, even if it costs him lifelong loyalties or his own life. Blind Evil is a taut psychological thriller that explores the dark place where sanity and madness collide.

My Review:
When John is called to investigate the gruesome murder of newlyweds recently returned from their honeymoon, the first thing that strikes our detective is that the scene is so carefully plotted out to the last detail.  It feels orchestrated - too personal.

As well it should.  In just one month, John is set to marry Emily, the love of his life since seventh grade.  Now those plans are on hold until he can stop the serial killer known as The Wedding Slasher.  And John is afraid he might well know the killer.

David is a brilliant psychiatrist with a dark past.  His childhood was filled with so many beatings and unimaginable atrocities at the hands of his meth-addicted parents, it's a wonder he grew up to be a sane adult.  It was that chance friendship with John and Emily in middle school that gave David an escape from the household of horrors.

Or did it?

Blind Evil is written in two simultaneous first-person points-of-view, that of our two protagonists John and Emily.  The division between was clean and concise and never muddled or blurred.  First person is not always easy to write with just one character, much less two, so I applaud Mr. Praschan for keeping these clear.

Grammar and punctuation errors were almost non-existent.  It's always nice to read a book with minimal errors and proper formatting, not something you always come across in the traditional publishing world, much less in the indie publishing realm.

David is more than adequately evil, twisted, and maniacal - but at times he was so over-the-top that he became more of a caricature instead of a real human being.

And characterization was where I struggled with Blind Evil.

When the murders occur, John is immediately suspicious of the man who is characterized as his best friend.  How would someone who is supposed to be a smart detective have such a friend in his back pocket?  I could understand this if David at one time was considered a best friend, but something about this supposed dynamic of best friends between these two in the present did not work for me.  John came across as too naive to be a streetwise, gritty detective.  With his close association to the primary suspect, he would have more likely been removed officially from the case.  But this did not occur.

Then there's Emily, John's fiancee who is also best friends with David (and dated him for eight years when John failed to make a move first).  Emily works with David in their joint practice, helping with his unorthodox methods of "therapy" that I found horrifying - and there is a disclaimer at the end of the book that says how this would never be considered an acceptable practice in therapy (thank you!).  So if Emily broke up with David because she was afraid of him, why then does she continue working with him in the practice and participating with these unorthodox methods as if there's nothing wrong with it all?  This says to me that there is something wrong with Emily as well, but that is never addressed.

I wish there would have been more moments of internalization with John and Emily to better understand the why of how they maintained this odd friendship with David when they didn't trust him and were actually afraid of him.  When the murders first begin, David is immediately suspect and John tells Emily not go to work, lock herself in the house, and not to answer the door for anyone - especially David.  So if John is too close to evil to see it, why then does he see it immediately as David at the first murder scene?  Most of the storyline is made up of a few moments of action, mostly dialogue and moments where I as the reader watched the characters "watch" themselves on video.  I felt very disconnected from the characters because of this distance and lack of internalization to understand their motivations.  Therefore, I never developed much in the way of empathy for any of them.

The plot had a lot of potential, but the overall inability to connect with the characters and the lack of grounding in reality left me feeling flat.  Again, however, the book was written cleanly and concisely and that counts for something with me.  Overall, I'd give Blind Evil two and a-half stars.


Barnes and Noble:



Author Bio:
Eric Praschan has been writing for more than 20 years, focusing on suspense fiction. He holds a B.A. in English and a M.A. in Theological Studies. His favorite authors range from Stephen King to C.S. Lewis. He has many years of experience in drama, music, teaching, and higher education. Eric lives in Missouri with his wife, Stephanie.  For more information, visit Facebook:

No comments:

Post a Comment