Eyes Closed Tight
Your eyes are the window to your world as your view the sights, wonder and see the amazing things around you. When someone dies they say they can see the world from heaven. But, what happens when a serial killer decides to take the lives of several young women, cut out their eyes, places them in jars and uses them as souvenirs. Former Detroit homicide investigator O’Clair retired to Pompano Beach, Florida and owns a motel. Along with his girlfriend Virginia, they run the place. Virginia an all around fix-it person can repair anything while he does the rest. But, one morning when cleaning up after a party the night before, O’Clair sees a woman stretched out on my of his lounge chairs. But, upon closer reflection and feeling for a pulse he realizes she is dead. But, who would kill her and leave her? Was the killer making sure that he would find her? But why? Her skin cold, her body starting to stiffen he calls the police and learns her identity. This killer was just beginning his reign of terror as another girl is killed and the similarities in these two murders remind him of another case that took place in 2006. As the pieces begin to fall into place and O’Clair meets with Lieutenant Roger Holland, they form a bond and work together to find the killer. But, first O’Clair decides to return to Detroit and meet with his old partner in the police department for view the murder file and figure out what they missed. Alvin Monroe is serving more than one life sentence for the murders of two young prostitutes but first who killed Gloria McMillen the girl in the lounge chair and why did the killer go after his maid Jady. The investigation gets started and the leads come in as O’Clair learns that Gloria worked for an escort service, did not call in. Using the name Ashley, not Gloria she met our killer who goes by the name Frank. Taking both women to a secluded place he tortured them and then removed their eyes as if the last thing they would see would be his sick face making sure that even in death he would haunt them.
The investigation moved slowly and Frank killer Jady next making sure that the message to O’Clair would be clear. Thinking back to the case from 2006, allowing readers to listen to his reasoning, meeting Lieutenant DeAndre and then going over the facts of the case they both handled they realize that the wrong man might be serving time and that they needed to try to make things right. Peggy Miller-King was killed and the body was found face up, arms bent slightly at the elbows and the body resting in a pool of blood. She dies August 7, 2006 but the remarkable resemblance to the present case was the missing eyes. Questioning her ex-husband led nowhere as he really did not care about her and her whereabouts. Becoming addicted to drugs and enjoying the life of a hooker, he divorced her. Cyntree Johnson was the next victim and the MO was the same. Take the trip back to 2006 as O’Clair and DeAndre question Alvin Monroe, stack up the evidence, claim they have witnesses that would testify against him and seal his fate. Within the pages of Chapter 12 we visit the interrogation room, hear Alvin’s words, listen to what was found and realize that even though he claims to be innocent he would not go free. All too often the police find a suspect, stick with that one suspect, pile up the evidence and do not look further. Such is the case with Alvin.
A Visit to the prison and seeing Alvin enlightens O’Clair and brings evidence to light that he did not release at the time of his arrest. Henry Cooper was the man who hired Alvin to bring him girls to take care of his needs at the apartment building that he took care of. Henry the landlord, Alvin fixed the plumbing and took care of providing Henry with girls to care for his personal plumbing. All roads led to Amanda Cooper to learn more about Henry. Rich, cold, austere and definitely had her own hidden agenda she goes on to explain her relationship with him, claiming he is out of town on business but O’Clair was relentless and was going to find Henry. Going back to the house when Amanda is gone he enters, searches the premises, learns more about their finances, finds evidence of his infidelities and then something on his work bench alerts him that this man is not who he seems to be as there are two plastic skulls on the work bench, tools that are used by a taxidermist or were they for something else. Bird eyes with glossy pupils and red lids as well as those of other animals.
Leaving his motel causes other areas of concern as he is leaving Virginia vulnerable. Learning that someone might be following her, taunting him and leaving him clues gives him an uneasy feeling but in order to solve the case he needed to go back where it all began. Roger Holland was more than happy to watch over Virginia until the killer decided to leave his calling card. A home invasion meant to scare both him and his wife Julia would cause Roger to leave Virginia in the hands of someone else and unprotected.
As the case unfolds and the identities of many are learned O’Clair finds out that Henry Cooper was adopted and needed to find out more about his birth mother. Added in he learns that Donna Meldrum was his real mother and was killed. Another child named Gary was born in 1971 and adopted. Donna was murdered in 1988 as you learn the gruesome details on page 138 and resemblance to this woman of the two girls that Alvin Monroe supposedly killed. Donna was raped by her brother. Her best friend Mary Cataldo stated that to the police and Donna dealt with the abuse by keeping her eyes closed shut pretending that nothing was happening. Eyes closed Shut: shuts out the world, feelings and her life. But, when you hear the voice of Larry her brother, the voice of the detective in charge you wonder if anyone cared about the murder of these two young girls, bothered to look further than Alvin and just how clever this killer was to make sure he was framed for what he did.
Henry Cooper was declared dead and his body identified by his wife Amanda. All of the victims had two different colored eyes but was the man she identified really Henry? Cold, unfeeling and not really heartbroken over the death of her husband, Amanda Cooper puts on a good show as the grieving wife. Henry was found with a prostitute lying dead next to him in his bed. This hooker looked just like his mother. In each case the killer uses the same weapon to remove the eyes, tortured them in various ways and left them where they would be found.
Virginia was becoming afraid and realized that she was being followed as she spotted different make cars that seemed to be following her at different times. This killer was so brazen that he pretended to want to rent one of the facilities at the motel hoping to throw her off guard.
Author Peter Leonard takes the reader inside the mind of a psychopathic killer as he maps out his strategy, explains his every move and kills his victims. Imagine killing your own mother over and over again in the form of each of his victims hoping to leave some clues that would entice O’Clair to get involved in the case. Killing his first victim by asphyxiating her and violating her with a metal rod and removing her eyes we learn that the killer goes by the name Frank but who is he really? Leaving Virginia vulnerable, letting Holland know she was being followed he leaves her in the charge of someone else but she is the next victim.
Using an X-Acto Knife as his weapon of choice he duct tapes her, ties her hands and feet and hopes to make her his next victim but not before leaving some clues for O’Clair. A time limit set for her death to take place leaving him a short period of time to find out just where he is hiding, where he might have rented another house hope he gets there in time.
But, coming face to face with Amanda Cooper might prove fatal for someone as O’Clair is now on his own. With the help of Holland he hopes to find Virginia but will he before it’s too late. A heart stopping ending that will leave readers wondering whether the killer is caught, whose body did Amanda identify and what will Virginia’s fate be? Author Peter Leonard provides a surprise ending that readers will not see coming with a special twist that will leave you wondering: Did he get the guy? Did he get away?
What is next for our retired investigator? Will he remain at the motel? Will he want back on the force? Eyes Closed Tight: Only when you wishing on a star or making a wish for your birthday.
Fran Lewis: reviewer