Friday, October 26, 2007

EYES EVERYWHERE by Matthew Warner

Okay, here is another review that originally went live on SFReader, but since we're quickly approaching Halloween I thought it would be a great review to dust off and give new life.

I'm currently working on a couple reviews that should be up and running in the next week or two, but until then read this one. And maybe find a copy of the book, and read it to.

Charlie Fields is average. He has a wife, two children and a job he doesn’t like, but is terrified of losing. He and his family live in a tiny studio apartment in Washington, D.C., and are looking forward to purchasing a small home. Charlie’s world is a little uneasy, but acceptable. He loves his family and they love him. His job isn’t great, but at least he has one. Then he begins to suspect things.

Charlie believes his wife is cheating on him. He has the feeling a few of the bosses at the Law Firm where he works are plotting to get him laid-off. Then his feelings of unease escalate and Charlie suspects sinister plots to not only destroy him, but also destroy everything he loves. He loses his job, and then slowly everything he cares about is striped away. His family, his sanity, and in the end even his humanity.

Eyes Everywhere by Matthew Warner is not an easy novel to read. It is written well, the plotting is top-notch, but the subject matter is disturbing and dark. It follows the tribulations of one Charlie Fields as his sanity succumbs to the cold embrace of schizophrenia. The overriding theme of Eyes Everywhere is identity, and how fragile and delicate is its relationship with the outside world. Identity is built on perception, and once that perception is skewed we are nothing more than empty vessels waiting to be delivered from our own darkness.

Eyes Everywhere is a genuine tale of horror. It is different in that the protagonist is also the antagonist. There is no evil here, no deception other than Charlie’s unbalanced mind, and as the story unfolds the conclusion becomes obvious, but the author persuades us to keep reading as Charlie stumbles into his own destruction. He makes us care about Charlie and his family. He shows the story without preaching, he tells the tale without preamble or sentimentality, and in the process uncovers something about the human condition. In the end, that is where the horror lives, in the broken dreams, the destroyed lives, and the flawed humanity we see every day.

Eyes Everywhere is not a novel to be taken lightly. It is ghastly, unnerving, and has the feel of something that not only can happen, but does happen. If you want something different, literate, powerful, and horrifying give Eyes Everywhere a try. If you are squeamish and afraid of things that go bump in the ego, let this one slide by.

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