The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh

 The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh cover art

The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh cover art

I received 'The Blinds' in my August Book of the Month box. When I read the synopsis for this book, I was incredibly excited because the idea of a mysterious small town with all of its residence shrouded in secrecy gave me Westworld vibes, but unfortunately this book fell incredibly short of the brilliance of Westworld. I buddy read it with two of my close friends, @inkandfable &  @lookingforaburu and we agreed that there were TOO many broken pieces that just didn't connect.


Imagine a place populated by criminals—people plucked from their lives, with their memories altered, who’ve been granted new identities and a second chance. Welcome to The Blinds, a dusty town in rural Texas populated by misfits who don’t know if they’ve perpetrated a crime or just witnessed one. What’s clear to them is that if they leave, they will end up dead.

     For eight years, Sheriff Calvin Cooper has kept an uneasy peace—but after a suicide and a murder in quick succession, the town’s residents revolt. Cooper has his own secrets to protect, so when his new deputy starts digging, he needs to keep one step ahead of her—and the mysterious outsiders who threaten to tear the whole place down. The more he learns, the more the hard truth is revealed: The Blinds is no sleepy hideaway. It’s simmering with violence and deception, aching heartbreak and dark betrayals.

There are a plethora of characters to keep up with and rightly so since we are dealing with a small, populated town in rural Texas, Caesura also known as 'The Blinds' , where each resident's past is the reason they are all there. However, where this story excels its unique storyline, it fails in character development. The three main characters, Sheriff 'Calvin Cooper', Deputy 'Dawes' and 'Robinson' {not their real names} are "assigned" to maintain law and order in this experimental town. In fact no one in 'The Blinds' goes by their real name. All of the residents, who volunteered to be a part of this warped witness protection program to have their memories erased, were given alias'; mostly a mixture of U.S. presidents and celebrities. The masterminds behind this town, Dr. Fell and Dr. Holliday did not want any of the participants to have any triggers that would cause them to remember their former lives; all of them were criminals.

Will I remember what I did?

You won’t.

But will I know that I’ve forgotten it?

You will.

So I’ll know I did something bad, but I won’t know what it was.

You’ll know you made the decision to come to this place.

What I did love about this story was the residents of 'The Blinds' had no idea whether they were the victims or the perpetrators. What I disliked immensely about this story was as I learned the backstory to each character, their stories seemed all over the place. There was one very long dragging chapter about one of the most mysterious residents, Wayne, his backstory in connection with one of the main characters seemed pointless. His backstory served no purpose and was not connected to anything presently occurring in the town. It took me away from the intensity of the stories. It was building and then flat. Honestly I skimmed this part.

The climax of this story is that the psychopath of this town, Dietrich, a stone cold killer, is hired by the Institute to begin killing residents. Honestly I was confused at this point. It wasn't until later that I realized he was hired to get the only boy in town, Isaac, so he could be returned to his father, a high profile politician. Isaacs mother, Fran, was an extremely underdeveloped character. At one point during the town's eight year existence she was having an affair with Sheriff Cooper.  He was really invested in her son and I thought maybe Isaac was his, but Cooper would betray Fran in the end as he sought protection for himself from Dietrich's killing spree.

  The Blinds By Adam Sternbergh   PUBLISHED BY Ecco, August 1, 2017  GENRE: Adult Fiction, Psychological Thriller   PAGES:  400  FORMAT:  Hardcover  SOURCE:  Sent by Book of the Month Club  PACING: {3.5/5}

The Blinds By Adam Sternbergh

PUBLISHED BY Ecco, August 1, 2017
GENRE: Adult Fiction, Psychological Thriller
PAGES: 400
FORMAT: Hardcover
SOURCE: Sent by Book of the Month Club
PACING: {3.5/5}

What I also loved about this book is that it spanned the course of week. Since the book was broken up by day, I really feel Sternbergh could have fleshed out the characters more and focused more on the people behind the conception of this experiment as well. Dr. Holliday was one of the masterminds behind 'The Blinds, the other, Dr. Fell, who was killed by Cooper. Since Dr. Holliday was the mastermind, her backstory and subsequent betrayal of her subjects could have replaced the long drawn out parts about characters that really did have an intricate role in the story. The basis of the experiment was clear, but learning more about 'The Institute' & Dr. Fell as well would have made the story even more intriguing. 

 Illustration by David Palumbo

Illustration by David Palumbo

During Dietrich's killing spree, a lot of the surviving townspeople were able to gather in the town's chapel. Rigo and Santayana, two of the investigators hired by the institute, began a public reading of the files of some of the residents while there causing one of them to commit suicide. This was their intent with all the others. Although I can imagine it being a bit jarring discovering that you were involved in something traumatic having completely lost memory of it, but it seems far fetched that suicide would be an immediate response to discovering it. It felt like Sternbergh wanted to incorporate another element of death so to speak where it wasn't necessary. Dawes, the African American deputy working under Cooper was my favorite character. She was calm, cool and smart and uncovered the truth about Cooper. 

I am kind of all over the place with this book. I am conflicted about how to rate it. I enjoyed the context of this story a lot, but not the lack of character arcs. The pacing was average, but it dragged a bit in the middle. Trying something a little different instead of stars. My rating is 3.5/5. This is inspired by one of my favorite bookstagrammers @seelieknight She's actually one of the reasons I started my account. If you read 'The Blinds' definitely leave your thoughts below. 

My rating: {3.5/5}