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Don't Close Your Eyes


Don't Close Your Eyes

Holly Seddon follows up her stunning debut novel, TRY NOT TO BREATHE, with a new tale of psychological terror that will keep you thinking and guessing from start to finish. In DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES, she once again relies on a dual-narrator format. With the pressure on to have another hit with her sophomore effort, Seddon pulls out all the stops.

The story revolves around twin sisters Robin and Sarah Marshall, who not only look nothing alike but also behave very differently. The present-day versions of both are rather sad and depressing. Robin is a shut-in who never leaves her house and lives vicariously through the lives she imagines her neighbors are living. Sarah is married with a child and seems to have ruined that relationship. Her husband, Jim, has outlined in numerical fashion everything that is wrong with Sarah and probably plans to use that information against her in the inevitable divorce and child custody battle. The problem is that Sarah recognizes all the things Jim has stated as being mostly true but seems powerless to change anything.

"Holly Seddon does a nice job of keeping readers on edge until the big reveal in the final act. And trust me, it is completely unpredictable and well worth the wait."

How did these two seemingly normal girls turn out so badly in their young adulthood? That is what DON'T CLOSE YOUR EYES attempts to recount in the form of flashbacks. The novel not only switches narration between Robin and Sarah, but also jumps between the present and the strategic points in the past that have shaped the future versions of themselves. The trick is that there may be secrets someone is not telling that could have a profound impact on their present-day selves.

Secrets are at the heart of this novel --- deep, dark secrets that are so well hidden even the person who should know you better than anyone else in the world is clueless to them. The book gets its title from the mantra that Robin repeats to herself when stressed. When a man supposedly tries to force his way into her apartment, she thwarts his efforts only to later fall to the ground whispering over and over: “Don't close your eyes.” The question remains: What is she afraid of seeing with her eyes shut?

Meanwhile, Sarah continues to have her own issues. Jim's list of her faults and indiscretions continues to mount, forcing her to the brink of a deadly decision from which she will not be able to come back. Is it worth it for her to grab Violet and run away, especially when she feels that Jim's accusations are unwarranted?

The reader realizes that it is just a matter of time before Robin and Sarah are eventually reunited. This makes for a lot of much-needed tension that keeps the book skipping along. With so much jumping between the past and the present, the line becomes blurred as to when the really bad acts and need for secrets took place. Was it something from their past that has been blocked out of memory, or is it something more recent? Holly Seddon does a nice job of keeping readers on edge until the big reveal in the final act. And trust me, it is completely unpredictable and well worth the wait.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on September 8, 2017

Don't Close Your Eyes
by Holly Seddon