I added The Blinds to my Goodreads list a couple years ago when writer Adam Sternbergh gave an intriguing interview to Texas Monthly magazine. It was all about his travel through Texas to research what West Texas was really like so he could nail it in the book. Since The Blinds was recently a Kindle deal, I nabbed it and gave it a go. At times, the writing is fantastic – fatalistically and pithily humorous. Kind of like a mix of Raymond Chandler and Catch-22. Unfortunately, the back third of the book almost feels like a different writer and story took over. In my humble opinion, the book devolves from a sleepy and semi-mystical page-turner into a 1990s action movie (and not in the good way). It’s a solid beach read, but don’t expect more. Don’t expect authentic West Texas, either. The book could easily be set on another planet and it wouldn’t change a thing.
Plot-wise, the book is similar to Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines and/or the Fox tv series of the same name: A lawman wanders around in a strange small town. No one is quite sure how or why they got there, but something is wrong – very wrong. Crouch has been very clear that his Pines series is directly expired by Twin Peaks and the mood it evoked, and Sternbergh’s book feels the same way, at least at first. It becomes a more paint-by-the-numbers story as your bookmark moves deeper.
If you want a light beach read that will keep you turning pages, you may want to give this one a go. It feels like it will be a season or two of tv show, a la Pines. Say you got there before any of your friends!