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by Lynn Abercrombie
Pinnacle, December 2006
384 pages
ISBN: 0786017287

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Sgt MeChelle Deakes works in the Atlanta Police Department’s Cold Case Unit. When BLIND FEAR opens, she awakes in a strange room unable to see. She does not know where she is or what happened to her. Her current partner, Detective Cody Floss, is in over his head and not able to locate her. He is also wet behind the ears and seems more interested in protecting himself then looking out for his partner or the police department.

Luckily the kidnapper leaves a message to be delivered to Hank Gooch, Deakes’ former partner. Gooch leaves his retirement to assist in the search for Deakes and for the kidnapper.

This kidnapping is very unusual in the sense that the kidnapper does not want money as the ransom. What this person wants is for Gooch and Deakes to solve an old unsolved murder case. The victim, Kathleen Morris-Bolligrew, was raped and then brutally stabbed. The only witness was her young daughter, Lane. The only problem is that Lane Priest is blind and did not see the murder.

This crime was never solved, yet Gooch and Deakes are given less than a single day to find enough evidence to convict the killer of the crime. If they cannot find this evidence, Deakes will not leave the room alive. There are clues in the house Deakes is being held in, but she is unable to see them and her sense of touch is not as refined as that of a truly blind person. Gooch and Deakes must beat the clock – and the odds – in order to find justice for a family and make it out of the situation alive.

BLIND FEAR is not the strongest or best-developed book on the market. As the number of suspects are limited, it becomes evident who the kidnapper is long before it is revealed in the book. In addition, the suspects for the murderer are limited so this unveiling is not a big surprise. I do not enjoy books where I can guess the bad guy before the protagonist.

In fact, the entire plot of BLIND FEAR is a little unrealistic. After all, the premise is that someone kidnapped a police officer, glued her eyes closed and expected her to discover a killer while trapped in a locked and boarded house. While villains are frequently stupid, it is improbable that they are naïve enough to believe that this scheme would get the results they want. There are much easier ways for the truth to be revealed and a killer caught.

Even with its flaws, BLIND FEAR can be considered appealing due to the relationship between the protagonists. As Deakes and Gooch are forced to rely on one-minute phone calls, they reveal more about themselves then they would otherwise. The limitations imposed on them by the kidnapper force them to cut out the pleasantries to get straight to the details. As they cannot see each other nor can they be sure that they will both make it through the situation alive, they are more honest and emotional than they would be if they were investigating this murder face to face.

While these strengths do not improve the book enough for me to recommend this book to others, I can see why it would be appealing to readers with different expectations regarding their mysteries.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, January 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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