Sleep with the Lights On by Maggie Shayne
Genre: Romantic Supsense/Mystery/Thriller
Series: Brown and De Luca #1
Publication Date: September 24th 2013
Page Count: 384
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey
Rachel de Luca has found incredible success writing self-help books. But her own blindness and the fact that her troubled brother has gone missing have convinced her that positive thinking is nothing but bull. Her cynicism wavers when a cornea transplant restores her sight. The new eyes seem to give her new life, until they prove too good to be true and she starts seeing terrifying visions of brutal murders crimes she soon learns are all too real.
Detective Mason Brown's own brother recently died, leaving behind a horrific secret. In atonement, Mason donated his brother's organs, though he's kept the fact quiet. Now he wants to help Rachel find her brother, but when he discovers the shocking connection between her visions and his own brother, he suddenly has to do everything in his power to save her from a predator who is somehow still hunting from beyond the grave.
Sleep with the lights on - and the door open!
I really have only one complaint about this book so I'll just get that out of the way before I start: Fade-to-black sex scenes... Not cool, Shayne. Not cool. I had to sit with my eyes squeezed shut and use my imagination for a bit. Way to make me work for it. Sheesh...
But since that's the only thing I didn't like, I guess I can forgive you. The rewards were a gripping and cleverly written mystery, a slow-forming but deliciously complex romance, some fantastic, high-octane creepy scenes, a touch of paranormal, a smart-arsed protagonist (seriously, I have a total Girl Crush on Rachel), all finished up to a satisfying conclusion, though with some breadcrumbs left to lead us on to the next book.
Rachel de Luca has been blind since age 12. That hasn't stopped her writing a plethora of self-help books, however, all aimed at better living, thinking positive, being upbeat and perky... HA! Rachel was hilarious. She has this sugary-sweet public persona that she flips on whenever she's, well, in public, but in reality, around her close friends, she's the snarkiest, most acerbic, totally un-PC but completely fabulous character ever. She really made this book something special for me. With murders, emotional traumas and grief going on all around her, her tenacity and strength showed in the fact that she never lost that spunk. And the book was better for it. All good books need light and shade; Rachel was the light in SLEEP WITH THE LIGHTS ON.
Detective Mason Brown is brought into Rachel's orbit when he accidentally runs her over outside the police station, where she'd just reported her bother missing. Oops! Shortly after, his own brother dies and he decides to donate his organs. Who better to receive his corneas than the blind but utterly gorgeous and intriguing Rachel whom he'd just so rudely mowed down earlier that day. There's just one problem: It's not until after his brother's death that he discovers his brother was the very serial killer his police unit has been hunting these last several months, and he may have just given Rachel the eyes of her own brother's murderer. Unless they can find him.
This is just the beginning for our duo. The "touch of paranormal" I mentioned comes in the form of strange dreams and visions Rachel experiences after the surgery. Well, I say it's "paranormal," but the book actually made it sound like there might be some science behind it, or at least, some documented cases of transplant recipients reporting differences in things they like to eat, watch, read, etc. I confess, I haven't bothered to research further on it, but it was fascinating to see Shayne take it that step further in her writing.
As the story progresses, the visions escalate and, bizarrely, the murders haven't stopped. It really becomes quite the tangled web, all told, but Shayne untangles it expertly. I loved Detective Mason's conflict and turmoil. He really is a good guy just trying to do the right thing in crappy circumstances. I did get kind of annoyed with him at times when it *almost* seemed like he was accusing Rachel of knowing too much, when he of all people should know that's not the case. The cheeky bugger. I really liked him, though, and look forward to more of him in book two. Including in the bedroom!
4 Stars ★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.