Where Honesty Never Ends.
Genre: Psychological Suspense/Crime Thrillers
Note: This work was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. Also may be tiny spoilers to convey certain points in the review.
Greetings everyone! The Review Board is here to share our thoughts on Blind Evil by Eric Praschan. Before getting into the review, let’s explore the blurb, provided by Amazon.com:
Now with the review, the Unleashed One.
“Sometimes you can be so close to evil, you can’t even see it.” What a chilling line that leads into an enticing blurb. I sat down eager to read this work. There are a few things that a psychological thriller/crime drama must hold in order for it to hold my interest and achieve high marks for me. The main factors are:
(1) Well researched
(2) Strong sense of realism
Well Researched (aka “Did one do his homework?”)
One of the opportunities in Blind Evil was that I feel the author should have done more research with certain elements on the book. For one, there is a difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist, yet in multiple places, these terms were used interchangeably. The major areas in differences involve education (training and credentials), the prescribing of medication, and purpose. Two of the characters in this book—David and Emily—are described as psychiatrists, but when it comes to “fear tests”, that actually stems closer to the work of psychologists. Plus, there was never any mention of whether David ever dispensed any medication to his patients to treat any of their medical ailments nor what was his specialization, yet he was able to give details into the psychological makeup of a person (again, which leans a bit closer more towards psychology as opposed to psychiatry).
In short, courtesy of WebMd:
The short answer is, psychiatrists are medical doctors and psychologists are not. The suffix “-iatry” means “medical treatment,” and “-logy” means “science” or “theory.” So psychiatry is the medical treatment of the psyche, and psychology is the science of the psyche.
This distinction may not mean much to some readers but if you have readers who are in the medical field or have had experiences with psychiatry or psychology, they may find the lack of variation confusing.
The other element which I feel wasn’t as fully researched as it needed to be was the mention of John’s usage of a Glock 22. A Glock 22 is the updated standard weapon used in police forces across the United States (lightweight appeal and cost effectiveness are cited as two of the primary reasons). Through the majority of the book, John is referred to as detective more so than an officer constantly on duty. In addition, due to something that was confessed during the “fear test” by John, I’m not sure why he would still be allowed to carry such a weapon based on the incident that took place. John having that type of gun in relation to his job title didn’t quite gel with me.
Okay, this is a great lead in to the second factor: strong sense of realism.
Realism (aka “Do I buy it?”)
There is embellishment and then there is outright fantasy. I don’t have anything against sensationalism and embellishment. Yet, even in crime fiction, there has to be some element of believably. I have to put myself in the moment and honestly feel like “that could happen to me”.
Unfortunately, I found quite a few things laughable and too many things made me go hmm, along with the “evil not being that blind” because I could see it by the time I got twenty-five percent in the book. Some of these queries are as follows:
(1) If John concluded from the gate that David is the prime suspect, why is he allowing the prime suspect to draw up the psychological profile on the serial killer? Isn’t that what the Behavioral Analysis Unit is for?
(2) Why was John even allowed to stay on the case, even though the Chief of Police knows John and David are best friends? I don’t care if John insisted he can stay objective, it’s a conflict of interest and he should have gotten thrown off the case. For all the Chief could have known, he and David may have been in cahoots.
(3) It is apparent throughout their association (with the flashbacks) that John and Emily have this obvious fear towards David. Why remain friends with someone you fear so strongly, to the point where your lives are put on hold and you’re afraid that one wrong statement may drive him ape shit?
Are they really dismissing his behavior as “that’s just how he is”? Are they really treating David like the uncle or cousin that’s locked off by himself in the very back room of the house and saying “he’s just like that”? Sure I have friends that have pretty fiery tempers, but in the voice of the late great comedian Bernie Mac (first few lines and pardon the language):
(4) If Emily and John claim to know David so well, how come he was always three steps ahead? I don’t think that showcased David’s smarts as much as it demonstrated Emily’s gross naivety and John’s shocking stupidity. Although I predict the author’s ultimate goal was for the reader to feel all sorry for Emily and John and totally abhor David, I found myself relating more to David (which was the better of three evils, since quite honestly, I wasn’t too crazy about any of the characters).
There are more but these are the ones that were red flags.
This segues into the third point.
Unpredictability (aka “Did you catch me off guard?”)
For me, a work cannot advertise itself as “thrilling” if the twists and turns can be predicted with ease. The moment that John’s suspicion became reality, everything went downhill. The flashbacks of the bond between the three main characters were meant to provide more information yet it gave too much content as it pertained to David’s blueprint. Therefore, nothing that David really did—in my opinion—was all that surprising as more unfolded. The final showdown was anticlimactic, for it reminded me of a movie I had seen which had almost that same type of feel.
Here are some further observations:
(a) I would have liked to have seen this told from David‘s point of view, either solely or in addition to the narratives of John and Emily. The reader has to take John and Emily’s words as gospel on David’s behavior. David’s first person account would have given him more dimension.
(b) Dialogue could have been more extensive and conveyed a bit more emotion, particular in the psychological warfare sequences involving the trio.
(c) More attention to character detail, particularly with Emily. Besides the female these two guys fawned over, who was she? It felt like she was thrown in just for the sole purpose of generating conflict. There was a missed chance for her to really shine in her narrative moments.
(d) The cover, although nice, didn’t quite fit the content.
I am weighing this against the pros in this work, which are as follows:
(1) The separate first person narrative voices were done quite well. This can be challenging even for the most experienced writer.
(2) Interior content is beautiful—font very easy to read, crisp graphics.
(3) Edited to a superb standard.
(4) Chapters were a reasonable length.
(5) Story was very well paced.
After much debate, I am ready with my verdict.
Unleashed (and overall TRB) Verdict: 6.5 out of 10 Stars
Blind Evil has a beautiful presentation. It has been ages since I’ve seen such internal beauty and success in split narrative delivery. Unfortunately, the very characteristics that makes a work an intriguing psychological thriller were undeveloped and lacking. If the above mentioned challenges were fine tuned, this work could have easily achieved top marks from me, for this author definitely has potential. However, Blind Evil in its current state isn’t where the author’s ability achieves top shine.
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