I do like a good mystery from time to time and was intrigued when I saw “The Eye” by Bill Pronzini and John Lutz. While the book is a new reprint of the novel that was first published in 1984, I had never read it before and that was good enough for me.
E.L. Oxman is at first stumped as to why a serial killer is targeting the residents of one particular block in New York. There seems to be no connection between the victims other than that they all reside on the same block. Little does he know that there is a madman who has envisioned himself as God bringing punishment for the sins of the block on the people as he watches them through his “eye,” a telescope set up in his apartment on the Jersey shore facing the block. He is the angel of death that is tasked with punishing the residents of West 98th Street for their transgressions.
Things get even more complicated when Oxman, who has been having marital problems for a long time, begins a relationship with a woman from the block and is spied upon by the murderer. Now Oxman finds himself not only emotionally attached to the crimes but has become a target himself just as the killer is set to turn up the heat and cleanse the block of its sinners. Oxman can only hope that he will live long enough to bring the killer to justice.
I am not familiar with the authors of “The Eye” but I would be interested in reading more by them as this novel is a tightly spun mystery that kept me guessing at every turn. While I did figure out who the killer was before the final revelation, Pronzini and Lutz do a good job of providing just enough clues for the reader to pick up on and work out but not so much that it is too simple and a distraction to the tale. The clues to the mystery are handled deftly and it is easy for the reader to become engaged in the story as it unravels around Oxman and the residents of West 98th Street. There are enough twists and turns for the reader to get caught up in the web of the story but not so much that the reader becomes lost. This is a delicate balance and one that the authors handle to near perfection.
“The Eye” is a very strong mystery/thriller novel that definitely deserved another printing for those who had never read it before. With its strong cast of characters and twisting plot, “The Eye” is sure to please fans of the genre as well as those who enjoy crime procedural shows. “The Eye” allows the reader to solve the mystery while at the same time reading a fairly detailed explanation of how the story is playing out as the police unravel the mystery. While this is not a great mystery that is destined to become a classic, it is one that is well worth reading and this is a very good volume for those who are discovering it for the first time or returning to it for another read.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media for this review copy. “The Eye” is available now.