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BLIND SPOTS by Thomas Mullen: Book Review

Having just lived through the worse pandemic in one hundred years, readers may believe they’ve been through it all.  But in Blind Spots, another type of virus, even more frightening, has taken over, not killing people but blinding the entire population of the world.

Several years after the inception of the virus, technology has made it possible for people to “see” again with a device that downloads visual data to the brain, and people have adjusted.  However, now comes the possibility that the vidders can be manipulated, blocking out visions of things and people, and in effect blinding everyone once again.

Even after The Blinding, as the new world order is called, scientists are still working to improve the technology that allows people to see as realistically as possible.  Dr. Ray Jensen is working on a project in that area, but his colleagues don’t believe in what he’s doing.  Fellow scientist Dr. Madeleine Leila is trying to be supportive as they walk to the subway together, but he knows she doesn’t think his work has merit.  Suddenly a form approaches them, and despite trying to manipulate their vidders to get a clearer picture of the figure, both of them can only see darkness walking toward them.  And then Jensen’s head explodes.

When Leila talks to homicide detective Mark Owens the following morning, he is totally unbelieving.  Is she using the idea of a vidder glitch to take suspicion away from herself, he wonders?  Although Owens and his partner Jimmy Peterson don’t believe her story about the black form killing Jensen, neither do they seriously think she killed him.  But if not her, then who?

Still unsure of what really happened, Owens decides to keep watch on her apartment.  He’s sitting in his car when he hears a shot and rushes into the building.  He finds the scientist dead on the floor, with a bullet hole in the center of her forehead, and he sees a leg disappearing through the apartment window.  There’s no face to go along with it, just a black blur exactly as Dr. Leila had described to him that morning.  Is it a man, a woman, someone with long hair, someone bald?  The detective can see nothing but that black blur.

Mark’s personal life is adding to his distress.  His sister Sarah has joined a group called INNER SIGHT COMMUNE in which its members refuse to wear vidders and thus live without vision.  Mark keeps trying to convince her to leave the commune, especially when she tells him she’s expecting a child, and Sarah reacts angrily.  “I choose to live an honest life.  If you came here to talk me out of that, then I’d like you to leave.”

In addition, Mark is still mourning the death of his wife years earlier.  His significant other, Amira, wants to move in with him, looking for a commitment, but he can’t bring himself to have another woman living in the space that Jeanie had shared with him.  He loves Amira, but the past simply won’t let go.

Thomas Mullen has written a fascinating novel that delves into our all-too-real fears of disease and epidemics and what that means to us.  You can read more about the author at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.


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