Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Gross

Eyes Wide OpenEyes Wide Open. Finished 3-21-13, rating 3/5, fiction, 340 pages, pub. 2011

Jay Erlich’s nephew has been found at the bottom of a cliff at Morrow Bay. It’s all just a tragic suicide, until secrets from the past begin to rear up again. Did a notorious killer, jailed for many decades, have his hand in this?

Years ago, Jay Erlich’s older brother, Charlie, a wayward child of the sixties, set out for California, where he fell under the sway of a charismatic but deeply disturbed cultlike figure. Tragedy ensued and lives were destroyed, but as the decades passed, Charlie married and raised a family and lived a quiet, secluded life under the radar. Yet the demons that nearly destroyed him never completely disappeared.

When Jay heads out west to help his grieving brother, he is pulled back into Charlie’s past–and begins to suspect that his nephew’s suicide may not have been that at all. With eyes wide open, Jay puts his own life at risk to uncover the truth, a quest that goes beyond the edge of madness and a family haunted by a secret past . . . and into the depths of evil.

from Goodreads

There was non-stop action and creepy characters, complicated sibling relationships and inequality in the way society deals with mental illness.  One of the main characters was even suffering with organ transplant issues.  I loved the exploration of Jay and Charlie’s relationship.  I thought it was spot on.  I was heartbroken, along with Charlie and his wife about the way that the cops and hospitals dealt with their troubled son.  This was a big storyline in the beginning and I wish Gross had followed up with it.

The story itself deals with a crime decades old and it was a little hard for me to get into even though it provided a Charles Manson like villain.  I thought the book was average.  It had high points and low points, but it was good enough for me to give this author another try someday.

I bought this book for my Nook.

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