“Gross is a top-notch thriller writer.”
“Andrew Gross knows how to make your skin crawl. Eyes Wide Open should be read with the door shut and the lights on; a truly terrifying descent into evil.”
New York Times bestselling author Andrew Gross solidifies his position as one of today’s very best suspense authors with Eyes Wide Open. Joining his previous bestsellers The Blue Zone, The Dark Tide, Don’t Look Twice, and Reckless, Eyes Wide Open is another brilliant example of the contemporary thriller done absolutely right. In this relentlessly exciting page-turner, a man must investigate a shattering personal tragedy that is somehow connected with a charismatic cult leader from the ‘60s. James Patterson, Harlan Coben, David Baldacci, John Grisham, Jonathan Kellerman, Jeffery Deaver, Lisa Gardner, Nelson DeMille, Tess Gerritsen—Andrew Gross stands tall in their elite company.
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About the Author
Andrew Gross is the author of the New York Times and international bestsellers Everything to Lose, No Way Back, 15 Seconds, Eyes Wide Open, Reckless, Don't Look Back, The Dark Tide, and The Blue Zone. He is also coauthor of five number one bestsellers with James Patterson, including Judge & Jury and Lifeguard. His books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages.
Read an Excerpt
Eyes Wide OpenA Novel
By Andrew Gross
William MorrowCopyright © 2011 Andrew Gross
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA myriad of lights flickered brightly in the distance. The whoosh
of the surf cascading against the rocks was only a far-off whisper
hundreds of feet below.
From up here, the lights all seemed just like candles to him.
Millions of candles! Like the whole world had all come out and
assembled before him, an endless procession at his feet.
It made him smile. He had never seen anything more beautiful
fin his life. He had always wondered what it would be like from
up herethe gigantic mound of rock, miles and miles of coastline
Now he knew.
You could probably see all the way to L.A., the boy imagined. He
was no longer a boy really, he was twenty-onethough sometimes
he still felt like one.
What are the voices saying to you now?
He stepped out closer to the ledge. "They're saying this is where
I was meant to be."
He had made the climb up hours ago, before it got dark, to be
alone with his thoughts. To calm the noise that was always in his
head. To see . . . And now it was just so beautiful. And all the voices
had quieted except one.
His angel, he called her. The one voice he could trust.
Have you ever seen anything more beautiful? the angel asked
"No, I haven't." He looked down at the lights of the small coastal
Waves crashed against the jagged rocks below. His heart picked
up excitedly. "I can see the whole world."
Yes, it's all there for you.
He hadn't taken his meds today. Usually that made him a little
foggy, his thoughts jumbled. But today, maybe for the first time ever,
his mind was clear. Completely clear. "I feel just like Jesus."
Maybe you are, his angel answered.
"Then maybe I should just return from where I came. Maybe
God wants me back. Maybe that's what I'm feeling."
You're not meant for this world, the voice replied. You're
smarter. You were destined for greater things. You've always known
Yes. The voice was soothing and close to his ear. His heart began
to pound like the surf. There's only one way to find out . . .
He took another step, closer to the edge, the darkness surrounding
him. The breeze brushed against his face. "That feels good. I feel
good. I feel good about this."
Just spread your arms, his angel instructed him.
"Like wings?" He opened his arms wide. "You mean like this?"
Yes, just like that. Now think of heading home. The pain you
will no longer be feeling. You see those lights? They're all so
beautiful, aren't they?
Beneath him, a piece of the ledge broke loose. It took several
seconds until he heard the sound of it breaking apart on the craggy
rocks below. He stepped back, fear springing up in him. "I'm scared."
Don't be. This is the moment it's all been leading to. All these
years. You know this, don't you?
"Yes." He nodded. "I know . . ."
Then open your arms. Just let the wind caress your face. Let the
darkness take you. It's easy . . .
"I feel it!" the boy said. He spread his arms. "I do."
Feel how loving its touch is. How free of pain. You've been in so
much pain lately.
"I have been. Yes, I have."
It would be good to be rid of the pain, just for once. To stop
the voices. To stop feeling he was letting everyone down. He knew
how much of a burden he was. To his parents. To everyone who had
expectations of him. The absence of pain is heaven, isn't it? Heaven.
That would be nice. To finally be free of it.
Then just reach out, the angel said. Let it take you. Like the
wind. Just think of heading home. That's all it is. You can do that,
"I think so," he said, nodding. "I think so."
Sucking in a breath, he stepped farther out on the edge, his pulse
picking up speed. Only the cushion of darkness beneath him. The
welcoming sound of the surf far below. How incredibly peaceful it
all was. And those candles, so beautiful . . .
So this was it . . .
"I'm so sorry!" he shouted to the panoply of lights. To his mother
and father. He knew how much this would hurt and disappoint them.
"Like an angel . . ." he said, shutting his eyes. A final cacophony
built in his brain. He stretched out his arms wide, palms in the air.
"Like this . . . ?"
Yes, just like that, the angel said.
Excerpted from Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Gross Copyright © 2011 by Andrew Gross. Excerpted by permission of William Morrow. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book left me a state of unsettleness. First a doctor who seems to have everything going for himself and his family takes off and leaves his family to help out his loser of a half brother. Second, this book parallels to the Manson family and his brood of drugged up hippies. It scared me then and it scares me now. I don't like to be riminded of those horrendous murders. Third the author did the unthinkable, he did not give the story a proper ending. Am I suppose to figgure it out. After reading through 300 some pages only to come to that conclusion. It absolutely drives me crazy.
This novel is an entertaining and fast read. It is generously peppered with references familiar to readers who know California's central coast. The plot is relatively direct. The cast of characters, easily imagined. It plays out in the mind like television. This comes at the expense (or annoyance) of excessively developing character, location and subplot, again like television. The story gave the two of us here who read it enjoyment and fodder for discussion and comment. There were mercifully few places where I could not suspend my disbelief for the sake of the story. Also, insights into human nature come from outside the story, not within! All in all, it was an entertaining mystery lover's confection.
I've read his other books and enjoyed them. This one...not so much. It's a thinly disguised retelling of the Manson (Squeeky, Tex and the rest) cult murders. Even the names Gross uses for his characters are similar.
In Morro Bay, California, twenty-one year old Evan Erlich leaps off a rock to his death in what was an apparent suicide. Evan's father Charlie calls his younger brother Jay with the news. Though the siblings are estranged, Jay leaves his medical practice to go across the country to Grover Beach to be there for his sibling and his sister-in-law Gabriella. Charlie tells Jay he had troubled Evan committed out of fear his son would kill himself, but does not believe the lad took his life. However the state released Evan just before he killed himself. Being a doctor, Jay believes the institution has negligence liability based on their releasing a potential suicidal person. Jay investigates his nephew's death and soon uncovers murky links to other questionable deaths and Charlie's 1970s relationship with cultist murderer Russell Houvnanian while the local cops starting with dedicated Detective Sherwood tell him to go home. With an obvious link to the Manson murders, this exciting thriller starts off as a slow paced family drama as parents and an uncle deal with the suicide of the next generation. However, once Jay begins his resolute obstinate inquiry, the plot accelerates as he begins to find a horrific murderers' row which targets the Erlich trio. Harriet Klausner
I really enjoyed this book, as i have enjoyed all of his books! The ending wasnt what i expected, but that is why he is such an excellent writer. You won't be sorry if u purchase this.
First book by this author that I have read-and it was a good one!
Started out as a good thriller. As the story progressed,became too much like the Manson story. I also have to question whether Dr. Jay was released from the hospital with his mouth still wired shut. Normally it takes longer than a few days for a broken jaw to heal. Also, is there a sequel since we were left hanging at the end. For the most part, I enjoyed reading the book.
I have enjoyed Andrew Gross's other books, but I thought this book was not worth reading. I found the storyline to be very far fetched and unnecessarily violent.
I was fortunate to receive a free ARC copy of this book. This is one of those books that will catch your attention and not let go until the last line. One of those books that will still be in your hands long past bedtime. It is a complex storyline, with all the expected twists (and then some) and with a sinister backdrop that will chill you as you turn the pages. The characters are very interesting. The way the author handles the bipolar and schitzophrenic Evan, Charlie and Gabby shows how comfortable he is with his creations. Their dialogue feels natural and even their delusions have a steady core of truth. There is no melodrama here. Jay, the main character, provides a lucid wall for them to bounce against as he tries to discover just what happened to Evan, his nephew. The villain, a Manson-like cult leader, has that charm and coldness that rings real enough to frighten the reader. I will not be forgetting him any time soon. When it comes to the plot, I could tell how carefully planned it had been. Most of the pieces fit together perfectly, propelling the reader down through secrets that werekept hidden for too long. There are a couple of plot points that weren't completely resolved, and which left me wondering. They were not extremely important and could have easily been cut out, which make me question why they weren't. But don't let that put you off, this is a book to read. I can highly recommend this book to anyone who loves thrillers, mysteries, or just a well-crafted novel. Just don't be surprised if you can't look at a dollar bill quite the same ever again.
Not Gross' best book, drags a bit, too much internal dialogue.
Murder, edge of my seat thrills, drama? When I received the ARC of Eyes Wide Open, I was intrigued. It had me at "horrible family tragedy." I¿ll start off by saying I didn't enjoy the short chapters in this novel. I felt it was unnecessary. They served no purpose other than being the book's equivalent of a commercial break. The second thing I didn't like was how seemingly perfect Dr. Jay Erlich was. He was a little too perfect and characters need flaws to be human. Perhaps Andrew Gross did give Jay flaws because Charlie, his brother, was a hot mess. Of all the characters, I liked him the best. I appreciated and respected his strength and his need to protect his family. Did he go about it all wrong? Absolutely, but that is what endeared me to him. He was flawed, he was human, he was real. I enjoyed reading how Jay and Charlie's relationship developed. The author succeeds in bringing realism to the brothers. He pulled me into their relationship and that is what made me continue reading. It wasn¿t the drama or the mystery that needed to be solved but how these two very different brothers strengthened their bond. I enjoyed how the story developed. In hindsight, I see where Mr. Gross dropped clues for the reader. I'm sure someone who is a fan of the genre would have picked up on them, I had to wait to the end to find out. I believe this is the first novel in a new series. I'm not sure where Mr. Gross is going to take it. I can't imagine where it could go. Then again, I'm not the writer, just a reader he sucked in. What moved me the most was the author's note at the end of the novel. I will admit it changed my view of the story, it caused me to see it in a different light and appreciate it in a different way.If you enjoy a good thriller, I think you'll like this one. I'm not a typical reader of them and I enjoyed it very much. I'm not sure I'll pick up another Andrew Gross novel, but I will read the next one in the series just to see what the doc uncovers next.
I finished this book about a week ago and resisted an urge to write about it right away. I¿m glad I waited because when I finished the book I felt the characters of Jay¿s brother and his wife were shallow, without any substance. Since then I realized that people with the kind of problems Charlie and Gabby dealt with are not deep, they tend to wear their hearts on their sleeve so Andrew nailed it with those characters. The Hero, Jay Erlich, is a loving father and successful doctor. While celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary with his wife Kathy he receives a call from his half-brother Charlie. Charlie suffers with bi-polar disorder and lives a heavily medicated life from prescribed medicines and some recreational ones as well. Charlie has some terrible news; Jay¿s nephew, Charlie¿s only son, is dead.Always close, Jay feels a responsibility to fly from the East Coast to California to help Charlie and his wife Gabriella cope with this devastating loss. This is where I mistakenly took Charlie and Gabby to be shallow characters, one dimensional because of their lack of initiative when it appears that Evan may not have killed himself. The police are calling it a suicide but Jay just can¿t quite bring himself to accept that. Charlie insists the Evan would not commit suicide and as Jay digs further into the mystery it begins to appear that Charlie may be right.What start¿s as a disturbed young man¿s death and his equally disturbed parents inability to cope with the matter quickly becomes a game of hide and seek with elements of Charlie¿s past. The excitement ramps up and the action moves quickly. The action keeps tensions high as events unfold and the story gets more than a little frightening as Jay closes in on the truth. Charlie¿s past is haunting him and not just from his memories. The story comes to an exciting but tragic end when Jay exposes the truth, but the truth comes with a great cost.This is a great read with lots of action and intense emotional intrigue but it had an extra quality that I couldn¿t quantify until I got to the author¿s notes at the end of the book. This story was inspired by a personal tragedy Andrew Gross experienced. You can feel this while you are reading the book.
I loved this book. Once I started reading Eyes Wide Open I couldn't put it down. Eyes Wide Open captures your attention in the first few pages.Eyes Wide Open is a thriller, mystery and so much more in a very quick moving novel. The main characters are Jay Erlich, his brother Charles, his wife Gabby and their son Evan. Jay receives a call from his brother's wife Gabby informing him about their son's death. Is their son's death a suicide or was he murdered? is the question that Jay comes to when he goes to California to be with his brother and his wife.Has Charlie's past caught up with him? Does this have anything to do with what Charlie did when he was strung out on drugs? are some of the other questions that Jay starts asking himself. The ending of the story did not surprise me as much as I thought it would. I kind of had a feeling that the story wasn't over.
This book was received from LibraryThing through their Early Reviewers program.Story begins with a young man jumping from a cliff to his death. When his uncle, Jay Erlich receives a call from the boy¿s desperate father (his brother, Charles) the question of why Evan, his bi-polar nephew committed suicide is asked.As a successful doctor, Jay drops everything and sets out from the east coast, across the country to California to support and console Charles and his wife Gabriella. Questions are asked but never seem to be fully answered and the demise of this nephew has many details that are not making sense.Using whoever will listen, Jay follows the reports and starts to investigate with the help of Detective Sherwood. This fast paced thriller draws you in deeper and deeper.The reasons for the growing stockpile of murders start to become connected because of Charles, the ex-hippy. He hid for so many years¿but the past is coming back to haunt him.This story follows a ¿Charles Manson & Helter Skelter¿ like evil persona. His name is Houvnanian and he never forgets.Some parts of the book are gruesome in detail and the death count in the end is monumental. I recommend this book to readers who like a hardcore mystery and want a quick thrilling read.
After I finished reading this exciting thriller, I realized the author took the winning formula from James Patterson while he co-wrote five #1 best sellers with Patterson. The two writing styles of the authors are the same, with short chapters that pick up the pace. "Eyes Wide Open" is a page-turner and a potential best seller. The story to me was riveting and the characters are alive and memorable. The Charles Manson-like cult leader in the book is creepy and believable. The plot has many twists and turns with scenes that really surprised me. This is a good read.I recommend this book to all Patterson fans.
Eyes Wide Open is a fast-paced thrilling murder mystery with an easy to read format of short clean chapters. It hooks you from the first couple pages with a murder and further sinks it's "teeth" into you with a suicide and a struggling relationship between a brother that has succeeded in family and professional life and a brother who barely survives through his, his wife's and his son's being bi-polar. The past relationship between brothers and what they learn about each other through this trauma and danger is developed nicely. The investigation and search for answers to why the nephew/son fell to his death and the ultimate exposure of past secrets and the evil behind them, keeps you glued tot the book until the last pages.
This is a fairly good thriller which has as its center a thinly disguised portrait of Charles Manson and his "family" thirty years after the horrendous events which brought them to the public eye. Some fairly good plotting and characters are undermined by leaden dialogue and so-so descriptive passages.
Andrew Gross's thriller, "Eyes Wide Open," is a fast-paced, tale of a family looking for answers to their son's suicide. I found the story very entertainment and hard to stop when i needed to. (lots of late nights). i have never read any of Andrew Gross's previous stories but i may need to reconsider that. So if you like thrillers this book will not disappoint.
Overall I enjoyed reading this book. I thought the main characters were interesting and generally well developed. There is plenty of suspense and murder to make this an interesting read.
My first encounter of Andrew Gross was the two books he co-authored with James Patterson. This was the first novel of his that I have read and I found it to be enjoyable. It was fast paced and intriguing until the end. I would recommend to others.
Imagine if someone took the first 40-50 pages of a random medical thriller and glued it to the last 300 pages of Helter Skeltor. You would have something resembling this book. Neither section would be bad, but the overall effect would be seriously disjointed.The book opens with a random murder in Michigan. This violent crime will not be referred for another 200 pages (but thats ok - standard thriller device). What is not OK is the next portion of the story where our hero Jay's mentally ill nephew seemingly commits suicide in California. The plot segues into a medical thriller. Jay investigates the hospital that threated Evan, the halfway home that he was released to, and there is even a sinister sounding conversation between the police officer assigned to investigate the suicide and the Doctor at the hospital about tying up loose ends before everything unravels.Maybe it is because I just finished (finally) The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet's Nest, but I read these early pages as a suggestion of a sinister government sponsored experiment on mentally ill patients. The book suddenly felt nothing like the description of a cult-like past coming back to haunt Jay's older brother, and very much like something I didn't care to read. I have to say I put the book down for several weeks at this point. Only my obligation to LTER (and my self-imposed restriction of reading LTER books before my ever growing TBR pile) forced me to return.Curiously, if I had managed to force myself to read just a few more pages my dislike of evil experimenting doctors wouldn't have been an issue. The plot about the hospital and halfway house is completely dropped. The detective who sounded like he was going to be a villain is now a good guy.We move on to discover that Jay's brother Charlie was once involved with Charlie Manson, and that someone is killing off people associated with the Tate-LaBianca murders. Well almost, Charlie was involved with a cult leader in the named Russell Houvanians whose followers murdered a large group of people at a dinner party as well as another couple.This part of the book was much more enjoyable. It was fast paced and engrossing. If only the author had shown a little more originality in his cult story (seriously it way too closely paralleled Manson) I would have given it 4 stars. But I'm someone who hates "ripped from the headlines" (or in this case history books) type plots.I would be remiss if I didn't mention the authors note at the end. The author's nephew died under circumstances nearly identical to Jay's nephew. My earlier feelings of disjointedness were explained. The first 50 pages were deeply personal and therefore tended not to truly relate to the overall plot. A stronger editor would have really helped the author here. Either the first part should have been seriously curtailed, or the author should have continued to story his narrative suggested (my misreading of a sinister plot afoot at the hospital). Both would have made for a stronger book, but I suspect the author was too emotionally invested to see that. I can forgive the author this.
I've read most of Mr. Gross's other solo works and enjoyed them very much. This work did not disappoint me. The writing is fast paced and never boring. I can't wait for his next novel.
-----Spoiler Alert-----Inspired by the death of his own Nephew, Andrew Gross has written a remarkable psychological thriller beyond simple who-done-it and how-did-they-do-it novels. "Eyes Wide Open" is written in a first person point of view, being told by Jay Erlich. It starts off with the apparent suicide of Jay's 21 year old nephew, Evan. Certain missing links begin to pile up making Jay believe that this may not have been as apparent a suicide then initially thought. As Jay begins to dive deeper into the mystery involving Evan's death, more and more trouble begins to arrive in his, and his family's life. Just when you think nothing else can go wrong, the local policeman investigating the crime begins to get wrapped up in the mayhem. As more and more bodies pile up, Jay is forced to confront his brother Charlie (Evan's father) about his past, in which may reveal the mystery of Evan's death.Being only 350+/- pages and 3-4 page chapters this was an easy read and always kept u on the edge of your seat. Overall I give this a 4 Star rating; definitely recommending it to any James Patterson fan, or Thriller fans.
This is my first Andrew Gross book. It was captivating from the beginning. Lots of twists and turns that kept me turning the pages.
Great book! I could not put it down. I was really impressed how well the characters are developed with realistic lives. This is a great book for any one with that crazy or just different family member.