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Eyes Wide Open: A Novel

Eyes Wide Open: A Novel

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Eyes Wide Open: A Novel

4/5 (35 valoraciones)
413 página
7 horas
Jul 12, 2011


“Gross is a top-notch thriller writer.”
Chicago Sun-Times

“Andrew Gross knows how to make your skin crawl. Eyes Wide Open should be read with the door shut and the lights on; a truly terrifying descent into evil.”
—Nelson DeMille

New York Times bestselling author Andrew Gross solidifies his position as one of today’s very best suspense authors with Eyes Wide Open. Joining his previous bestsellers The Blue Zone, The Dark Tide, Don’t Look Twice, and Reckless, Eyes Wide Open is another brilliant example of the contemporary thriller done absolutely right. In this relentlessly exciting page-turner, a man must investigate a shattering personal tragedy that is somehow connected with a charismatic cult leader from the ‘60s. James Patterson, Harlan Coben, David Baldacci, John Grisham, Jonathan Kellerman, Jeffery Deaver, Lisa Gardner, Nelson DeMille, Tess Gerritsen—Andrew Gross stands tall in their elite company.

Jul 12, 2011

Sobre el autor

Before turning to full-time writing, Andrew Gross was an executive in the sportswear business. Andrew has co-authored 5 novels with James Patterson, all of them reaching Number One in the NY Times Bestseller list. His first novel ‘The Blue Zone’ was an instant UK bestseller.He currently lives in New York with his wife, Lynn and has three children.

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Eyes Wide Open - Andrew Gross



Sherry Ann Frazier knew she’d seen him somewhere before.

The gaunt, sharply cut edge of his jaw. The narrow, dimly lit eyes, staring back at her. The probing intensity of his crooked smile.

Maybe on a trip somewhere, or at an airport. You know how you pass by someone you might never see again and yet their face is permanently implanted in your mind. Or maybe she’d seen him at her shop. People were always coming in . . . She’d seen him before—that much she knew. Definitely.

She just couldn’t remember where.

She was packing her groceries into her hatchback in the lot outside Reg’s Market in the town of Redmond, Michigan. On Lake Superior on the Upper Peninsula. Sherry had a bakery there, a couple of blocks off the lake. Muffins, zucchini bread, brownies. And the best damn apple crisps on the UP, according to the Redmond Crier.

She called them Eve’s Undoing—a temptation no one could resist.

He was simply staring. Leaning in the entrance to Singer’s Pharmacy, next door. Looking very out of place. He never took his eyes off her. Initially, it gave her the chills, but nothing bad or creepy ever seemed to happen in Redmond. Maybe he was a workman at one of the marinas. Or a war veteran down on his luck. The town always had a few of those; they made their way up here in the summer, when the place was filled with vacationers. She always gave them a treat. Everyone has dignity, Sherry always maintained. Everyone was always loved by someone in their life.

In Redmond, the biggest worry was losing value on the Canadian loonies the tourists came here to spend.

Aware of him, she felt herself hurrying to fill up the car. Then she wheeled back the cart, telling herself not to make eye contact.

As she climbed in her Saab she allowed herself a final glance in the rearview mirror.

He was still watching her.

That’s when she had the sense that she had seen him somewhere before.

Sherry was fifty-two, youthful, still pretty, she knew, in a bohemian sort of way. She didn’t wear much makeup; she still kept her hair braided back from her days as a flower child. Still wore peasant blouses and kept herself thin. She was single again. Tom and she had divorced, though like a lot of people in her life, they remained good friends. She took art classes and yoga, studied Reiki. She fancied herself a bit of an energy healer. She even did work in Healing/Touch in the pediatric ward at the hospital in town.

Maybe that was it. Sherry brushed away her goose bumps. Maybe he just found her attractive. A lot of people did.

As soon as she pulled out of the lot and onto Kent Street, she remembered why she was there. Her daughter, Krista, was driving up from Ohio with her little four-year-old muffin, Kayla. Sherry had closed the shop early and had brought home some carrot muffins and cinnamon buns. She picked up Shrek Forever After and Finding Nemo. She headed out of town and put the man at the market behind her.

An hour later Sherry was at the house, a converted red barn out on Route 141. Her kitchen was filled with copper pans and her famous coffee mug collection, old Beatles and Cat Stevens albums, and an RCA record player her granddaughter referred to as a wheelie.

Along with Boomer, her old chocolate Lab.

She was up to her elbows in pie crust. Krista had called a while back and said they’d be arriving in another hour. The kitchen door was open; they were in the midst of a late summer heat wave and in this old house, she needed any breeze she could find. She was listening to NPR on the radio, a discussion about end-of-life medical treatment and how much it was costing. Sherry wasn’t sure where she came down on the issue, as long as you could ease people’s suffering.

Suddenly Boomer started barking.

Usually it was a car pulling up in the driveway, or maybe the UPS truck, which often came around this time. Sherry wiped her hands on her apron. Maybe Krista had surprised her and gotten there early. She was just the kind to do that.

"Boomer!" she called excitedly, hurrying to the front door.

She looked, but no one was there.

She didn’t even see the dog anywhere. Not that that mattered—the old boy didn’t go anywhere anymore. He could barely crawl onto his mat and take a nap.

Then she heard a yelp from out back.


At his age, Sherry knew a jackrabbit could scare the dog half to death. She left the front door ajar and went back into the kitchen. She wanted to have the pie done by the time the girls arrived. Get that mama into the oven . . .

As she got back to the table, her eyes were drawn to the floor.


The old dog was on his side, panting, unable to move. Sherry ran over and kneeled beside him. "Poor boy . . . Not now, baby, I’m not ready for this. She stroked his face. Krista and Kayla are on their way . . ."

She ran her hand along his neck and drew it back, startled.

Warm, sticky blood was all over her palm.

Boomer, what in God’s name happened?

Suddenly she heard the shuffle of footsteps from behind her. She looked up.

Someone was there.

A man was in her doorway. He just stood there, leaning on the door frame.

Her heart almost came up her throat when she realized just who it was. It was the man she had seen at Reg’s Market.

A shiver of fear ricocheted through her. What could he possibly be doing here?

She looked at Boomer, the dog’s blood on her hands, and glared back at him. "What the hell have you done?"

The man just stood there grinning, leaning against the door. Hello, Sherry.

She stood up, focusing on his face, years tumbling back, like a fog lifting over the pines and the lake coming into view.

Her hand shot to her mouth. "Mal?"

It had been such a long time ago. More than thirty years, a part of her life she had long buried. Or thought she had. Forever. She never thought she’d see any of them again. Or have to account for what she’d done. She was just a crazy kid back then . . .

It’s been a while, huh, doll? His dark eyes gleamed.

What are you doing here, Mal?

Making amends. He winked. Long overdue, wouldn’t you say? The master of the house—you remember that, don’t you, Sherry? Well, he’s come home.

He was grinning, teeth twisted, that same unsettling grin she had seen at the market, tapping something in his palm.

It was a knife. A knife with blood all over it.

Boomer’s blood.

Sherry’s heart started to pound. Her eyes shot to her dog, whose chest had now stopped moving. A chill sliced through her, and with it, a terror she hadn’t known in years.

The man stepped inside, kicking the screen door closed.

So tell me—he smiled, tap-tap-tapping his blade—what’ve you been up to all these years, hon?


Chapter One

A myriad of lights flickered brightly in the distance. The whoosh of the surf cascading against the rocks was only a far-off whisper hundreds of feet below.

From up here, the lights all seemed just like candles to him. Millions of candles! Like the whole world had all come out and assembled before him, an endless procession at his feet.

It made him smile. He had never seen anything more beautiful in his life. He had always wondered what it would be like from up here—the gigantic mound of rock, miles and miles of coastline stretching below.

Now he knew.

You could probably see all the way to L.A., the boy imagined. He was no longer a boy really, he was twenty-one—though sometimes he still felt like one.

What are the voices saying to you now?

He stepped out closer to the ledge. They’re saying this is where I was meant to be.

He had made the climb up hours ago, before it got dark, to be alone with his thoughts. To calm the noise that was always in his head. To see . . . And now it was just so beautiful. And all the voices had quieted except one.

His angel, he called her. The one voice he could trust.

Have you ever seen anything more beautiful? the angel asked him.

No, I haven’t. He looked down at the lights of the small coastal town. "Never."

Waves crashed against the jagged rocks below. His heart picked up excitedly. I can see the whole world.

Yes, it’s all there for you.

He hadn’t taken his meds today. Usually that made him a little foggy, his thoughts jumbled. But today, maybe for the first time ever, his mind was clear. Completely clear. I feel just like Jesus.

Maybe you are, his angel answered.

Then maybe I should just return from where I came. Maybe God wants me back. Maybe that’s what I’m feeling.

You’re not meant for this world, the voice replied. You’re smarter. You were destined for greater things. You’ve always known that, right?

Yes. The voice was soothing and close to his ear. His heart began to pound like the surf. There’s only one way to find out . . .

He took another step, closer to the edge, the darkness surrounding him. The breeze brushed against his face. "That feels good. I feel good. I feel good about this."

Just spread your arms, his angel instructed him.

Like wings? He opened his arms wide. You mean like this?

Yes, just like that. Now think of heading home. The pain you will no longer be feeling. You see those lights? They’re all so beautiful, aren’t they?

They are!

Beneath him, a piece of the ledge broke loose. It took several seconds until he heard the sound of it breaking apart on the craggy rocks below. He stepped back, fear springing up in him. I’m scared.

Don’t be. This is the moment it’s all been leading to. All these years. You know this, don’t you?

Yes. He nodded. I know . . .

Then open your arms. Just let the wind caress your face. Let the darkness take you. It’s easy . . .

I feel it! the boy said. He spread his arms. I do.

Feel how loving its touch is. How free of pain. You’ve been in so much pain lately.

I have been. Yes, I have.

It would be good to be rid of the pain, just for once. To stop the voices. To stop feeling he was letting everyone down. He knew how much of a burden he was. To his parents. To everyone who had expectations of him. The absence of pain is heaven, isn’t it? Heaven. That would be nice. To finally be free of it.

Then just reach out, the angel said. Let it take you. Like the wind. Just think of heading home. That’s all it is. You can do that, can’t you?

I think so, he said, nodding. I think so.

Sucking in a breath, he stepped farther out on the edge, his pulse picking up speed. Only the cushion of darkness beneath him. The welcoming sound of the surf far below. How incredibly peaceful it all was. And those candles, so beautiful . . .

So this was it . . .

I’m so sorry! he shouted to the panoply of lights. To his mother and father. He knew how much this would hurt and disappoint them.

Like an angel . . . he said, shutting his eyes. A final cacophony built in his brain. He stretched out his arms wide, palms in the air.

Like this . . . ?

Yes, just like that, the angel said.

Then fly.

Chapter Two

The gal in the white lace sundress was as sexy as I’d ever seen.

She had shoulder-length, sandy-blond hair, a little tangled and windswept. Eyes as blue and inviting as a Caribbean cove, the kind you could dive right into. A strap of her dress dangled loosely off her shoulder, exposing the shape of her breast, and she smiled, bashful yet unconcerned. The second I laid my eyes on her I remembered thinking, Now there’s the woman I’ve been waiting for all these years. The one I could live with forever.

And as I stumbled down across the dunes to the ocean, lugging the bottle of Veuve Clicquot and our meal, the lights from our beach house washing over her face, I said for about the millionth time in the past twenty years just how lucky I was that I had.

Get down here, Kathy called. There’s not much time before I start to freeze my butt off and the whole thing’s ruined.

You know, a little help might do the trick, I yelled back.

I was balancing the champagne, the bowl of fresh pasta I had just topped off with truffles and butter, and my iPod speaker. The blanket was already laid out on the sand—the table set, the candles lit, re-creating that night from twenty years ago.

Our wedding night.

No fancy party or trip. Just us, for a change. Both of our kids were away. The truth was, we rarely even celebrated our anniversary, not since our daughter, Sophie, was born a year later on the very same day. August 28. But this year she was already at Penn and our sixteen-year-old, Max, was at fall lacrosse camp before school began.

We were at our beach house in Amagansett, basically just a cozy cape house nestled into the Hampton dunes.

"Yow, sand crab!" I yelped, hopping onto a foot and almost pitching the tray.

You drop that bowl, mister, and you can forget about whatever you have in mind for later! Kathy jumped up, taking the pasta from me and setting it on the blanket, where she had laid out a hand-printed menu, bamboo place mats, fluted champagne glasses, and candles. There were even little name cards.

I looked closer and noticed that they were from Annette’s, up in Vermont, where we’d had our wedding.

The very same name cards—with the same little blue ribbons—but this time they were inscribed with the words: "To my wonderful husband. For 20 beautiful years."

I have to admit, my heart crumbled just a bit on that one. Nice touch.

Thought you’d enjoy that one. Sophie did the lettering. Not to mention letting us have the day.

Remind me later to thank her, I said. I sat down and started to pour some champagne. "Wait—almost forgot! I connected the speaker to my iPod and pushed the play arrow. My contribution!"

Bob Seger’s We’ve Got Tonight spread over the beach. It wasn’t really our song; it was played a lot back then when we started getting cozy with each other at college. I was never the big romantic or anything. Kathy always said she had a thirty-second window to hold my hand before I would let go.

So happy anniversary, I said. I leaned in close to kiss her.

Say it first, she said, keeping me at bay.

"Say what?"

You know damn well what. . . . She lifted her champagne glass with a determined glimmer in her eye. Not like you said it back then . . . like you really mean it this time.

You mean how you were the one I wanted to honor and take care of for the rest of our lives . . . ?

"Yeah, right! She chortled. If only you had said it like that."

What I’d said, or kind of barked at her back then, going eighty on the New York Thruway—kind of a running joke all these years—after being nudged and pressed to set a wedding date, holding off until I’d finished my residency and hooked up with a job, then further delaying until Kathy was done with hers, was something a bit more like: Okay, how about Labor Day? Does that work for you?

Does that work . . . ? Kathy blinked back, either in disbelief or shock at having received about the lamest proposal ever. Yeah, it kinda works . . . She shrugged.

I think I drove on for another exit before I turned and noticed her pleased and satisfied smile.

Well, it seems to have . . . I wrapped my champagne glass around hers, looking in her eyes. "Worked. We’re still here!"

The truth was, I’d come from a family of revolving divorces. My father, five—all with beautiful younger women. My mom, three. None of the marriages ever lasted more than a couple of years. In my family, whenever someone popped the question, it was more like code for saying that they wanted to split up.

So then say it, Kathy said. Her gaze turned serious. For real this time.

It was clear this wasn’t her usual horsing around. And the truth was, I’d always promised I’d make it up to her if we lasted twenty years.

So I put down my glass and pushed onto a knee. I took her hands in mine, in the way I had denied her those years before, and I fixed on those beautiful eyes and said, in a voice as true as I’d ever spoken: If I had the chance to do it all over again—a hundred times, in a hundred different universes—I would. Each and every time. I’d spend my life with you all over again.

Kathy gave me a look—not far from the one in the car twenty years ago—one that I thought at any second might turn into, Oh, pleeze, Jay, gimme a break.

Until I saw her little smile.

"Well, you have, she said, touching her glass against mine. Taken care of me, Jay. All of us."

I winked at her. Now, can we eat?

I think we both knew we would stay together from the first time we met. We were undergrads back at Cornell, and I had long, curly brown hair in those days and broad shoulders. Played midfield on the lacrosse team. We even went to the Final Four my junior year. Kathy was in veterinary science. I still kept my hair kind of long, but I’d added tortoiseshell glasses now, along with a slightly thicker waist. These days, it took a hundred sit-ups and a half hour on the treadmill every couple of days to keep me in some kind of shape.

Yes. She started to spoon out the salad. Now we can eat.

My cell phone sounded.

I groaned. I hadn’t even realized I’d had it on me. Habit, I guess. After twenty years of being on call, the ring of the phone intruding on a potential Cialis moment was the ultimate deflating sound.

Kathy sighed. Probably the kids. You know how they like to bust a good mood.

I looked at the screen. It wasn’t the kids at all.

It’s Charlie.

My brother. Eight years older. He and his wife, Gabby, both bipolar, each with a history of drug and alcohol abuse, lived in California as wards of the state, along with Evan, their twenty-one-year-old son. We helped out with their rent, pitched in financially when they got in over their heads. Which was often. They always seemed to need something. A call from them was rarely good news.

Kathy exhaled at me. It’s our anniversary, Jay . . .

My first thought was to let it go to voice mail, but I picked up.

"Hi, Charlie . . . ," I answered, some irritation coming through.

It wasn’t him. It was Gabriella. I’m sorry to bother you, Jay . . . , she began, like she always began, in her gravelly, deep-throated voice and still-heavy Colombian accent. Something terrible has happened here. Her voice was shaky and distressed. Evan is dead.

"Dead? My eyes immediately shot wide, finding Kathy’s. Evan was their only child. He had always been troubled; he’d been diagnosed as bipolar as well. Out of school. Not working. In and out of trouble with the law. But dead? How?"

He jumped off the rock. In Morro Bay. Then she choked back a sob, any attempt at control completely unraveling. Evan is gone, Jay. He killed himself. My son is no more.

Chapter Three

I turned to Kathy, the bottom falling out of my stomach. Evan’s dead.

She looked back at me, tears forming immediately. "Oh my God, Jay, how . . . ?"

He killed himself. He jumped off a cliff.

Like everything with Charlie and Gabriella—every monthly call on how they were, how Evan was doing, every veiled plea for money or to be bailed out—it spun your head.

Just a week ago we’d gotten a call that Evan was improving. That he was back on his meds. He was even thinking about going back to school. I brought my nephew’s cherub-like face to mind, freckles dotting his cheekbones. That smug Don’t worry, I got it all figured out smirk he always wore.

Oh, Gabby, I’m so sorry. I thought he was doing well.

Well, you know we haven’t been telling you everything, Jay. It’s not so easy to have to talk about your son that way.

I know, I said, bludgeoned. I know.

I was a surgeon. I dealt with life and death every day. But when it’s someone close to you, your own . . . everything changed. They’d never had jobs or money. Or even friends that I knew. They lived on welfare, totally under the radar. Evan was their only hope. The only thing good in their own failed lives.

Now that was gone . . .

When he was younger, my nephew had shown a lot of promise. His early report cards were always A’s. He was kind of a basketball whiz, his room lined with trophies. I remembered how brightly Charlie and Gabby spoke of him back then.

How’s Charlie holding up? I asked. Let me talk with him. Kathy inched closer and took my hand. I shook my head grimly.

Your brother cannot come to the phone, Gabriella said. He’s a mess, Jay. He can’t stop crying. He’s blaming himself for the whole thing. He can’t even speak.

Blame . . . My brother’s life was a monument to blame. I could think of a million reasons he might be feeling that.

Charlie was my half brother, from my dad’s first marriage. Eight years older than I was; I barely knew him growing up. He was raised in Miami, in the sixties, brilliant in many ways—a math whiz, early into quantum physics and Eastern religions—but just as wild. My dad’s marriage to his mother had only lasted a year and a half; then he made his way up to New York; started his business, a women’s apparel firm; and married my mom. He barely even acknowledged he already had a son.

Charlie was smoking pot by the time most kids were hiding beers. Then he went upward from there: speed, mushrooms, LSD. He grew his hair out, totaled his Corvette. A ranked junior in tennis, he flung his racket into the stands at the state high school championships and never went back. He always had this dream of becoming a big-time rock star. And he even produced a record once, in L.A.—the only real accomplishment in his life.

Then there were a lot of dark years . . .

First, when he was twenty-three, it was the Hartford House of the Living, where he spent three months after the cops picked him up on the streets raving that he was Jesus Christ.

Then the street scene in New Orleans, with this ragged band of drugged-out bikers and felons known as the STPs—the Stinky Toilet People—who slept on the floors in abandoned buildings, whacked out of their minds. Charlie once told me that you could wake up with a knife stuck in your chest if you simply rolled up against one of their girlfriends wrong.

And finally that commune up near Big Sur, where I’d heard about this cult of stoned-out musicians and drifters, several of whom were later convicted of a string of horrible murders, though Charlie always claimed he was hanging around there only for the chicks and the drugs.

For years, he bounced in and out of hospitals and jails. Schizophrenic and bipolar, he’d been on lithium for thirty years, not to mention his own private pharmacy of antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. He always battled with our father, right up to the day he died.

Ultimately, he did settle down. He met Gabriella in a recovery clinic back in Miami. Together, they moved out west and lived this quiet, codependent life in a coastal California town, granted disability by the state, just enough to squeak by.

They had Evan, and they tried their best to raise him. We always pitched in, anteing up for a car when theirs broke down or paying off their debts. Charlie once said to me, You know how ashamed it makes me, Jay, to have to take money from my little brother just to get by.

But of course they always took it. We were all that kept them from living under a bridge somewhere.

Now Evan . . .

My nephew’s life was a perfect storm of things that had gone wrong. Mental instability. No money. Violence and fighting in the house. At first, everything seemed on the right track; then it all changed. Scrapes at school became brushes with the law. He started taking drugs—speed, ecstasy, OxyContin. He and my brother began to clash—just as Charlie and our father used to clash—furniture tossed, punches thrown, the police called. Evan’s behavior grew increasingly erratic and withdrawn. He started hearing voices. He was placed on a daily diet of the same pills his father took—lithium, Klonopin, Thorazine—but he always seemed to be more off them than on. Finally he dropped out of school, got himself fired from a series of menial jobs. I tried my best to get him private counseling, to lure him away from their house. Once, I even begged him to come live with us and go to a junior college back east. But Charlie and Gabby never seemed prepared to let him go.

Only months ago, they’d told us that Evan had turned around. They’d said he was back on his meds, being helpful around the house. Even thinking of going back to college. Then only last week they’d left a message: He’d been taken away. He was in a state hospital. They were talking about finding him some kind of a halfway facility where they could place him under supervision. Force him to stay on his meds. We thought this was good. For the first time in years, we thought maybe there was a reason to hope.

Now this . . .

Your brother needs you, Jay, Gabriella said. She choked back a sob. I’m afraid for what he might do. You know we don’t have anywhere else to turn.

They had no money. No jobs to focus on. No friends to help soften the pain. All they ever had was this kid. And now he was gone.

I gave her over to Kathy, who tried to comfort her, but what was there to say? In a couple of minutes she put down the phone.

I have to go out there, I said.

She nodded.

I scrolled through my commitments for the following week—mostly things I could pass off on my partners, other than a procedure I had to perform on Friday on the teenage daughter of a friend.

I’ll go Monday. I’ll only stay a couple of days.

Kathy shook her head. You can’t wait until Monday, Jay. These people need you. You’re all they have. She took my hand in hers. You have to go tomorrow, Jay.

My gaze drifted to the meal spread out on the blanket, now cold. The glasses of champagne. Our little celebration. It all seemed pointless now.

I realized I hadn’t seen my brother in more than five years.

I’ll go with you, you know, Kathy said, moving next to me. I will.

Thanks. I smiled and drew her next to me. But this is something I ought to do alone.

You’re a good brother, Jay.

She handed me my glass. Then she took hers and we touched them lightly together. Here’s to Evan, Kathy said.

To Evan.

We took a sip and sat, knees up, watching the waves against the shore. Then she leaned over and re-pressed the play button on the iPod.

Like the man says . . . She put down her drink. We’ve still got tonight.

Chapter Four

The three-hour drive up the California coast on 101 to Charlie’s the following day gave my mind time to wander to some old things.

It went to my brother as a long-haired eighteen-year-old who had just dropped out of college, his conversation rocketing back and forth between complex string theory, Timothy

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Lo que piensa la gente sobre Eyes Wide Open

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  • (4/5)
    I have followed Andrew Gross since he was writing with James Patterson and Eyes Wide Open is one of my favorites. I have followed him closely enough to have recognized that the plot line of the book was linked to his private life. I have found very few books that scare me as I am reading them. This one did. It was very fast paced, kept me guessing and has left me hoping there will be a sequel.This is definitely worth the read. However, my favorite is still The Blue Zone. If you like thrillers this book and all of Gross's books are worth a try!
  • (5/5)
    I finished this book about a week ago and resisted an urge to write about it right away. I’m glad I waited because when I finished the book I felt the characters of Jay’s brother and his wife were shallow, without any substance. Since then I realized that people with the kind of problems Charlie and Gabby dealt with are not deep, they tend to wear their hearts on their sleeve so Andrew nailed it with those characters. The Hero, Jay Erlich, is a loving father and successful doctor. While celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary with his wife Kathy he receives a call from his half-brother Charlie. Charlie suffers with bi-polar disorder and lives a heavily medicated life from prescribed medicines and some recreational ones as well. Charlie has some terrible news; Jay’s nephew, Charlie’s only son, is dead.Always close, Jay feels a responsibility to fly from the East Coast to California to help Charlie and his wife Gabriella cope with this devastating loss. This is where I mistakenly took Charlie and Gabby to be shallow characters, one dimensional because of their lack of initiative when it appears that Evan may not have killed himself. The police are calling it a suicide but Jay just can’t quite bring himself to accept that. Charlie insists the Evan would not commit suicide and as Jay digs further into the mystery it begins to appear that Charlie may be right.What start’s as a disturbed young man’s death and his equally disturbed parents inability to cope with the matter quickly becomes a game of hide and seek with elements of Charlie’s past. The excitement ramps up and the action moves quickly. The action keeps tensions high as events unfold and the story gets more than a little frightening as Jay closes in on the truth. Charlie’s past is haunting him and not just from his memories. The story comes to an exciting but tragic end when Jay exposes the truth, but the truth comes with a great cost.This is a great read with lots of action and intense emotional intrigue but it had an extra quality that I couldn’t quantify until I got to the author’s notes at the end of the book. This story was inspired by a personal tragedy Andrew Gross experienced. You can feel this while you are reading the book.
  • (5/5)
    Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Gross is a story that builds and builds and builds, until you suddenly realize you are reading something that is an intriguing, creepy (and getting creepier every moment), and complicated too. The story starts with Jay and his wife celebrating their wedding anniversary and appreciating the comfortable life they have together. Then they are called by Jay's brother Charlie to be told that their nephew, Charlies only son Evan, has just committed suicide. Jay flies out to support Charlie & his wife Gabby. They both struggle with mental illness, as did Evan, and they live simply. Jay goes along with this brother & sister in law to see the police, caregivers, Evan's friends, and so on, and Jay slowly comes to believe that Evan was murdered. And once he believes it, even creepier things occur...The book was very well written and I stayed up late several nights in order to finish it. Recommended!
  • (4/5)
    My first encounter of Andrew Gross was the two books he co-authored with James Patterson. This was the first novel of his that I have read and I found it to be enjoyable. It was fast paced and intriguing until the end. I would recommend to others.
  • (4/5)
    Watch out who you run around with. They may seem like your friends but WATCH OUT. They may be using you for their own benefit.Charlie likes to party a lot. His father does the same. They hang out with a group of people who are not very likable. They all get into trouble. Charlie calls the police and most of them go to jail. Some have 20 years sentences, others get 15 year sentences. The head of the group receives a life sentence.Many years later, suicides are happening around town. Are these REALLY suicides or are people in the group coming back and planning revenge? How can this be when the head of the group is in jail?The prologue of this book is full of suspense. It starts to drag after that. And then the suspense picks up about towards the end. It could have a sequel but not sure if Gross intends to write it.Andrew Gross co-authors with James Patterson. This is the first book I've read of his where he is only author.
  • (5/5)
    I loved this book. Once I started reading Eyes Wide Open I couldn't put it down. Eyes Wide Open captures your attention in the first few pages.Eyes Wide Open is a thriller, mystery and so much more in a very quick moving novel. The main characters are Jay Erlich, his brother Charles, his wife Gabby and their son Evan. Jay receives a call from his brother's wife Gabby informing him about their son's death. Is their son's death a suicide or was he murdered? is the question that Jay comes to when he goes to California to be with his brother and his wife.Has Charlie's past caught up with him? Does this have anything to do with what Charlie did when he was strung out on drugs? are some of the other questions that Jay starts asking himself. The ending of the story did not surprise me as much as I thought it would. I kind of had a feeling that the story wasn't over.
  • (5/5)
    This is my first Andrew Gross book. It was captivating from the beginning. Lots of twists and turns that kept me turning the pages.
  • (5/5)
    Not Gross' best book, drags a bit, too much internal dialogue.
  • (3/5)
    This is a fairly good thriller which has as its center a thinly disguised portrait of Charles Manson and his "family" thirty years after the horrendous events which brought them to the public eye. Some fairly good plotting and characters are undermined by leaden dialogue and so-so descriptive passages.
  • (3/5)

    Well written. Reasonably smooth read. Story had some unpredicted twists. Overall a very solid book. Worth a read.
  • (3/5)
    Moves at a fairly fast pace and has a fair share of gore to it. There is a very strong connection to a real case --almost too coincidental. Still have no idea what the heck happened? The author's note at the end at least answers some of the reader's WTH questions, but don't read it beforehand! Gross deserves some degree of respect for having written this novel at all.
  • (4/5)
    After I finished reading this exciting thriller, I realized the author took the winning formula from James Patterson while he co-wrote five #1 best sellers with Patterson. The two writing styles of the authors are the same, with short chapters that pick up the pace. "Eyes Wide Open" is a page-turner and a potential best seller. The story to me was riveting and the characters are alive and memorable. The Charles Manson-like cult leader in the book is creepy and believable. The plot has many twists and turns with scenes that really surprised me. This is a good read.I recommend this book to all Patterson fans.
  • (4/5)
    This is Andrew Gross best stand alone book that he has came out with. It starts put slow but it picks up and does not let of the gas intill the very end. Would recommend to any one that reads his books. He is up there with the likes of Patterson, Woods and Parker.
  • (4/5)
    This is my second book (The Dark Tide) by Andrew Gross. I enjoyed Eyes Wide Open for several reasons. It's under 400 pages and a good story. Short James Patterson type chapters with an interesting storyline. Lots of characters to keep track of but, they all seem to blend together into a pretty good tale. I'll agree with another reviewer that it's a perfect book for a trip/vacation. You're not bogged down by 500 pages of detail after detail. As I have matured into a geezer I tend to like my books short and entertaining. :-)
  • (3/5)
    Overall I enjoyed reading this book. I thought the main characters were interesting and generally well developed. There is plenty of suspense and murder to make this an interesting read.
  • (5/5)
    Really liked it!
  • (1/5)
    I read the author's notes early on and learned this was, in part, based on the author's own nephew's suicide which made me really want to like this book. But I just couldn't it was so incredibly slow, with no climax, no twists, and the end you could see coming from a mile away. I wouldn't recommend ths book to anyone.
  • (4/5)
    Great book! I could not put it down. I was really impressed how well the characters are developed with realistic lives. This is a great book for any one with that crazy or just different family member.
  • (4/5)
    Murder, edge of my seat thrills, drama? When I received the ARC of Eyes Wide Open, I was intrigued. It had me at "horrible family tragedy." I’ll start off by saying I didn't enjoy the short chapters in this novel. I felt it was unnecessary. They served no purpose other than being the book's equivalent of a commercial break. The second thing I didn't like was how seemingly perfect Dr. Jay Erlich was. He was a little too perfect and characters need flaws to be human. Perhaps Andrew Gross did give Jay flaws because Charlie, his brother, was a hot mess. Of all the characters, I liked him the best. I appreciated and respected his strength and his need to protect his family. Did he go about it all wrong? Absolutely, but that is what endeared me to him. He was flawed, he was human, he was real. I enjoyed reading how Jay and Charlie's relationship developed. The author succeeds in bringing realism to the brothers. He pulled me into their relationship and that is what made me continue reading. It wasn’t the drama or the mystery that needed to be solved but how these two very different brothers strengthened their bond. I enjoyed how the story developed. In hindsight, I see where Mr. Gross dropped clues for the reader. I'm sure someone who is a fan of the genre would have picked up on them, I had to wait to the end to find out. I believe this is the first novel in a new series. I'm not sure where Mr. Gross is going to take it. I can't imagine where it could go. Then again, I'm not the writer, just a reader he sucked in. What moved me the most was the author's note at the end of the novel. I will admit it changed my view of the story, it caused me to see it in a different light and appreciate it in a different way.If you enjoy a good thriller, I think you'll like this one. I'm not a typical reader of them and I enjoyed it very much. I'm not sure I'll pick up another Andrew Gross novel, but I will read the next one in the series just to see what the doc uncovers next.
  • (5/5)
    Andrew Gross is a superb writer of mystery thrillers. His stories capture our interest, have good quick-moving plot development, suspense, and excellent characterization. This is his fifth crime novel in which he is the sole author. He also wrote five best-sellers with James Patterson.Jay Erhlich, his protagonist, is a successful surgeon living an ideal life with his wife of twenty years and his kids. His father was mentally unstable, probably bi-polar, had charm which he misused illegally and caused self-inflicted injuries. He married and divorced several women. Jay’s older half-brother, Charlie, from another wife, inherited his father’s unhealthy mental disposition, is deeply disturbed, and unable to function well in society. Charlie has a son, Evan, who is as disturbed as his father and grandfather. Charlie’s family is supported by disability State payments, and Jay helps out with frequent cash contributions.Jay hears that Evan apparently committed suicide by jumping off of a high cliff. He leaves his lucrative medical practice, planning to return within a few days, and rushes to help console his brother and his brother’s wife, but he uncovers puzzles that stop him from returning home. Evan had been institutionalized because of violent behavior and attempted suicide, but was negligently placed in an “open home,” that he could leave at will, after just several days at the institution. When Jay tries to question the institution and the police, both seem to be covering up something. Jay discovers that a woman who Charlie knew when he belonged to a cult was just released from prison after serving for three decades. Several officials involved in her capture and imprisonment are murdered. Jay receives some help from a retired dying police officer who he must constantly push. He receives threats to drop his investigation and get out of town. Readers will be caught up in the suspense of finding out: What was Charlie’s involvement with the cult? Is he guilty of any crimes? Did he help capture the recently released woman? Is the woman seeking revenge? Are the institution and the police covering up something and, if so, what is it? Was Charlie’s son’s death a suicide or murder? What is the significance of the wide-open eyes?
  • (5/5)
    Charlie Erlich spent his youth stoned and playing music, but there’s a darker side to what happened all those years ago and it just caught up with him with deadly force when his son Evan is found dead at the bottom of a canyon, at first glance it’s a slam dunk suicide but sometimes things aren’t as simple as they look.Jay Erlich is the good brother to Charlie’s screw-up and it’s no different in adulthood, Jay is used to getting phone calls for help from Charlie and his dysfunctional family but this time it’s different when the call is to report Jay’s nephew’s death. Jay rushes to his brother’s aide leaving his own family and career. As Jay investigates the supposed suicide it begins to look more and more sinister and it looks to be connected to Charlie’s youth and a horrible crime that was committed by members of a cult that he was involved with. Who will be safe and who will be sorry and who will have their “Eyes Wide Open “.Andrew Gross may have started out as a co-author with James Patterson but with the sale of his first solo novel his masterful storytelling has become more and more evident, this one takes us away from Ty Hauck his protagonist from the last few novels, but have no fear because he introduces us to some memorable new ones. His plot is filled with dangerous twists and murderous turns so you lovers of dark thrillers will be happy with all the mayhem. His narrative is easy to read and follow and flows smoothly from start to finish with dialogue that describes and reflects on his characters and his scenes. His characters are remarkable from the smallest part to the biggest role and Mr. Gross does an outstanding job giving each one their individual voice that readers will be able to hear loud and clear. The brothers Jay and Charlie will definitely get under your skin with their polar opposite personalities and actions, from Charlie’s bipolar, ex-hippy self to Jay’s by the book, upstanding citizen, surgeon self. If mystery, murder and dark plots are your cup of tea, have a cuppa this because you won’t find a better roller coaster ride than the one you’ll climb on here. If you like characters with character, you’ll find them between the pages of this novel. If you just like an unforgettable story, you’ll remember this one for a long time.
  • (4/5)
    I've read most of Mr. Gross's other solo works and enjoyed them very much. This work did not disappoint me. The writing is fast paced and never boring. I can't wait for his next novel.
  • (4/5)
    This is a fictional thriller involving actual events, it describes the lives and families of two different brothers, the Erlich's. Jay a surgeon from New York, gets a call from his brother Charlie, saying, "that his son, "Evan" has been found dead at the bottom of a cliff of an apparent suicide". All of Charlie's family have been diegnosed with bipolar and are living on Social Security checks, just making ends meat. Jay goes out to California to comfort his brother's family, while out there he notices that this might not have been a suicide, but foul play might have been involved, now the mystery unfolds. I really enjoyed this novel, it kept the pages turning, not wanting to put it down till the end.
  • (4/5)
    Eyes Wide Open, a fictional mystery inspired by actual events, opens with Jay Erlich, a surgeon in New York, getting word that his nephew committed suicide by jumping off of Moro Rock in California. This mirrors closely the actual death of the author’s nephew. In the book the reader learns that Evan, the fictional nephew, may have been the victim of shady, or at least negligent practices at the hands of the authorities who were supposedly treating him for his bipolar disorder. Jay flies out to be with his brother and, while there, starts investigating the events surrounding Evan’s death.Up to this point, the book closely mirrors the actual suicide of the author’s own nephew and I get the impression that one of the reasons this story was written was to allow Andrew Gross an opportunity to work through his grief and anger over this senseless death.Spoiler warningAt this point in the book I was puzzled as to how this book was going to turn out. Was there some sort of fantastical hospital conspiracy ala Robin Cook that Dr. Erlich was going to ferret out or was it somehow connected to the time decades before when Jay’s brother, Charlie, lived on a ranch with a hippy commune headed by a charismatic ex-con who went on to lead many of them on a highly publicized killing spree? I did say this was inspired by actual events, didn’t I?Having come of age in the late 1960s, I still remember the aura of fear surrounding the Manson murders. The murder of one of the attorneys during the trial made many people think that the horror was far from over. The question as to whether such a character has mystical powers that he can use to strike out at his enemies from even the securest prison provides rich fields for an imaginative author such as Andrew Gross to frolic in.I found Eyes Wide Open to be an enjoyable, if not entirely credible, read with equal measures of mystery and thriller. These kept me going despite some choppiness, that might have been improved by better editing. As an example two chapters, specifically chapters 62 and 65, appear to serve the same purpose. Both divulge the exact same information to the reader. The only difference is that chapter 62 is written from the point of view of the detective who learns certain pieces of information in conversations with other officers whereas chapter 65 is written from Jay’s perspective as the detective passes the same information on to him. My impression from reading the two chapters is that Andrew Gross was undecided as to how to present this information and wrote up the scene from two different POVs and that both ended up being published, possibly by accident. It doesn’t really detract from the story and does give the reader an intriguing sense of getting an illicit peak at the man behind the curtain.The review copy of this book was obtained from the publisher via the LibraryThing Earler Reviewer program.
  • (4/5)
    This book was received from LibraryThing through their Early Reviewers program.Story begins with a young man jumping from a cliff to his death. When his uncle, Jay Erlich receives a call from the boy’s desperate father (his brother, Charles) the question of why Evan, his bi-polar nephew committed suicide is asked.As a successful doctor, Jay drops everything and sets out from the east coast, across the country to California to support and console Charles and his wife Gabriella. Questions are asked but never seem to be fully answered and the demise of this nephew has many details that are not making sense.Using whoever will listen, Jay follows the reports and starts to investigate with the help of Detective Sherwood. This fast paced thriller draws you in deeper and deeper.The reasons for the growing stockpile of murders start to become connected because of Charles, the ex-hippy. He hid for so many years…but the past is coming back to haunt him.This story follows a “Charles Manson & Helter Skelter” like evil persona. His name is Houvnanian and he never forgets.Some parts of the book are gruesome in detail and the death count in the end is monumental. I recommend this book to readers who like a hardcore mystery and want a quick thrilling read.
  • (5/5)
    Andrew Gross's thriller, "Eyes Wide Open," is a fast-paced, tale of a family looking for answers to their son's suicide. I found the story very entertainment and hard to stop when i needed to. (lots of late nights). i have never read any of Andrew Gross's previous stories but i may need to reconsider that. So if you like thrillers this book will not disappoint.
  • (2/5)
    I'm afraid I can't concur with most of the reviews here. The author's note at the end of the book explained to me why Mr. Gross wrote the book and I can certainly see that it was a therapeutic activity for him. His family tragedy formed the seed for this book but it essentially was not enough to justify the Manson-like nature of the plot. The thriller aspects of the plot took away any drama I felt for the family's tragedy and the hanging ending, begging for a sequel, really left me cold.There were too many loose ends that led nowhere (maybe these will be followed in the sequel) but I felt, halfway through the book, that enough story lines had been introduced to reduce the effect of any one of them. It devolved into a common thriller which lessened the impact of the originating story.After reading the other reviews here I concur completely with that of Johnfgaines.I will not be reading any more books by Mr. Gross.
  • (2/5)
    When reading a new book, I have often followed the “fifty-page rule.” No matter how boring or bad the book begins, I will stick with it for 50 pages. Then, I know enough to make a decision about whether the book is worth finishing. If the author has not convinced me that reading the book is a worthwhile use of my time, I am through. Some books make for a close call. That was true for Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Cross. If I had been observing a “thirty-page rule,” it would have been a no-brainer. This book starts off like the dud of all duds. I was wondering why editors at a reputable imprint like William Morrow ever would have accepted such a novel for publication. But it slowly gets better. By page 50, I was debating whether or not to continue. If Eyes Wide Open had been a library check-out, I would have slipped it in the returns slot without any regrets. But having an obligation to write this review, I felt the need to be fair so I plodded ahead and got caught up in the plot enough to finish the reading. Being on a cross-country flight with nothing else to read helped me keep going.New York doctor Jay Elich travels to California to comfort his older brother, whose son has died by falling from a rocky cliff along the central California coast. Authorities are ready to rule the death a suicide, but Elich finds enough inconsistencies to keep pushing the detective in charge of the case to investigate further. It is a long and convoluted path, but by the end of the 300+ page book, truth has been discovered. Whether or not justice has been served is a matter of interpretation. While Eyes Wide Open does not deserve a glowing recommendation, it does not end up being as bad as my first judgment indicated. Any reader needed to pass a few hours of time with nothing better to do might find this book serviceable. At the end of the day, that is about the best I can say.
  • (4/5)
    -----Spoiler Alert-----Inspired by the death of his own Nephew, Andrew Gross has written a remarkable psychological thriller beyond simple who-done-it and how-did-they-do-it novels. "Eyes Wide Open" is written in a first person point of view, being told by Jay Erlich. It starts off with the apparent suicide of Jay's 21 year old nephew, Evan. Certain missing links begin to pile up making Jay believe that this may not have been as apparent a suicide then initially thought. As Jay begins to dive deeper into the mystery involving Evan's death, more and more trouble begins to arrive in his, and his family's life. Just when you think nothing else can go wrong, the local policeman investigating the crime begins to get wrapped up in the mayhem. As more and more bodies pile up, Jay is forced to confront his brother Charlie (Evan's father) about his past, in which may reveal the mystery of Evan's death.Being only 350+/- pages and 3-4 page chapters this was an easy read and always kept u on the edge of your seat. Overall I give this a 4 Star rating; definitely recommending it to any James Patterson fan, or Thriller fans.
  • (5/5)
    Eyes Wide Open is a fast-paced thrilling murder mystery with an easy to read format of short clean chapters. It hooks you from the first couple pages with a murder and further sinks it's "teeth" into you with a suicide and a struggling relationship between a brother that has succeeded in family and professional life and a brother who barely survives through his, his wife's and his son's being bi-polar. The past relationship between brothers and what they learn about each other through this trauma and danger is developed nicely. The investigation and search for answers to why the nephew/son fell to his death and the ultimate exposure of past secrets and the evil behind them, keeps you glued tot the book until the last pages.