Title: With Eyes Wide Open
Author: Kelly J. McMullin
With Eyes Wide Open by Kelly J. McMullin is an exciting and thrilling mystery. The story focuses on the main character, Sam Brodie. She is the Police Chief of Cherokee Falls. During a ground-breaking ceremony, she plunks her shovel into a buried skull. This launches into an investigation into the death.
Sam solves that mystery quickly and it turns out there was actually no foul play. It could seem like the story ends there, but this was just a prelude to the real excitement. Sam quickly interrupts an armed robbery and in doing so solves a case she has been working on. Sam carries out her Police Chief duties and solves several other problems around town.
It quickly becomes clear that Sam is a strong, lead, female, character and one awesome Police Chief. As Sam’s story unfolds, the audience is also introduced to some secondary and supporting characters. Here, McMullin’s skills really shine. Each character feels important and their stories are emotionally gripping, no matter how small their role is in the overall story.
Sam’s family is comprised of her husband (Liam) and daughter (Bridget). Sam is supported in her work by officers, Emily and Adam. As well, there are some interesting townspeople and friends introduced.
After the introduction to the characters, the real mystery starts. Sam discovers an actual, recently, dead body, well-hidden at a local hotel. The scene has some bizarre clues. Sam starts gathering evidence and launching into her investigation. She first has to find the identity of the victim, which is Grace Romano.
As Sam investigates, she starts uncovering potential culprits. One is Grace’s romantic interest, a Senator named Robert O’Rourke. His possible motive—Grace was 12 weeks pregnant and perhaps he wanted her out of the picture. Sam continues her investigation, attempting to assess O’Rourke’s involvement. She finds more evidence, further implicating him in the crime.
The investigation hits some snags because of O’Rourke’s status and connections. However, Sam persists and continues to work the case. She finds the evidence she needs and moves to make an arrest. However, more problems, including legalities stand in her way.
Here, McMullin shines again. He has led the reader in one direction. It seems the answer has been given and some loose ends just need to be tied up. However, it turns out, in true spectacular mystery-form, the audience has been led astray.
As the real culprit is revealed, there is more intrigue and danger for Sam. The audience is taken on ride through more moments of heightened emotion. Of course, you will have to read the book to learn all the answers and see how the story resolves!
With Eyes Wide Open is a great read. This story involves interesting and engaging characters. This book could easily compare to a season of Fargo or The Killing. It has the same slow-building feel that pulls the audience along, trying to solve the mystery—definitely screen-worthy. In the meantime, With Eyes Wide Open is highly recommended if you want to spend the day reading a compelling mystery story.
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