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Blind Alley (Eve Duncan) Hardcover – 14 Sep 2004

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Joe watched the body wrapped in a dark green tarp being carefully lifted from the grave by the forensic team. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 136 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
This does more than just hurt! It's truly painful! 25 July 2006
By Paul Weiss - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Blind Alley" is the fifth novel in the continuing story of Eve Duncan, forensic sculptor, Joe Quinn, Atlanta police detective and Jane MacGuire, their precocious seventeen year old adopted daughter rescued from the streets. Be warned that much of this review might be construed as spoilers but I'm betting that it's not going to matter much since you'll likely be giving the book a pass anyway!

I used to treat Iris Johansen as a sure thing! You know what I mean - the kind of author whose new title you'd add to your reading list without even caring what the plot line was or you'd pick up a copy at the store without even bothering to flip open the dust jacket for a peek! "Blind Alley" buried that thought - cold, deep and fast! It was a great deal more than just bad - it was truly painful!

A shadowy serial killer named Aldo is on the loose slaughtering women in a most unseemly, gruesome fashion. Carving their living faces right off their skulls, Aldo imagines himself responsible for the systematic elimination of all women who resemble Cira, a courtesan/actress/prostitute killed two thousand years ago in the town of Herculaneum when Vesuvius erupted. It would seem that Aldo is a little upset at having lost the love and attention of his father, an archeologist who became obsessed with Cira when he discovered her statue and some details of her life.

As if that isn't deep enough in left field as the premise for a thriller, imagine the eyebrows you'll raise when you read that Jane MacGuire, Eve Duncan and Joe Quinn's adopted 17 year old daughter is a ringer for Cira. Not only does she find herself stalked by Aldo but some inexplicable psychological attachment to Cira plagues Jane with regular nightmares in which she is trapped in caves or tunnels fleeing for her life from the eruption of Vesuvius.

It doesn't end there - Johansen tosses Mark Trevor into the mix. He's a con and an antiquities smuggler (picture Lovejoy with a nasty streak!) who had a run-in with Aldo and is intent on killing him. To that end he intrudes himself into Eve Duncan's and Joe Quinn's life and sets himself up as Jane's protector. Now, I'm no prude but the scene in which Trevor, a grown man at least as old as Joe, has a near sexual encounter with Jane, a typical seventeen year old teenager with respect to her hormones and sexuality, is just plain distasteful and, frankly, scored well into the red zone on the "yuk" meter!

There is just so much wrong with this novel, it's difficult to know where to begin and where to stop - nightmares that start, happen and end with no explanation or psychological development at all; unlike any previous Johansen novel I've read, the characters and dialogue seem trite, wooden and completely contrived; the outcome of Mark Trevor as a character is left spectacularly un-resolved; Eve Duncan's obsession with her murdered daughter, Bonnie, continues unabated and is definitely becoming downright irritating; a wonderful sub-plot concerning Eve's forensic reconstruction of a real skull from the Vesuvius eruption was simply deep-sixed!

I still own a few Johansen titles that I haven't read so there is perhaps hope. But she'll have to prove to me that she hasn't jumped the shark before I'll spend another cent on a new title!

Paul Weiss
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The End of the Road 24 Oct. 2004
By Valerie - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is going to be the last Iris Johansen book I'll buy in hardcover, and there's no certainty I'll be buying any in paperback either.

Although this book is promoted as being about Eve Duncan, don't be fooled. She, and her partner Joe Quinn, are very peripheral characters here. Instead, its their 17 year old, foster daughter Jane that takes center stage. And she has none of the character or personality of her fictional parents. In fact, Jane is just flat out boring.

Seems there's a killer going around and cutting the faces off women that look like Jane. His motives are confusing, and pretty nonsensical, but no matter. For a villian, he's dull and 2-dimensional, and completely without personality. He exists purely to be thwarted. At no time does he comes across as menacing, there are no suprises.

The male romantic lead here is Trevor, and like Jane and the villian, he too comes across as dull and uninspiring. Perhaps its just me, but the attraction that develops between 17 year old Jane, and 30+ Trevor was just uncomfortable. I don't understand how an author thats created such interesting, inspiring characters like Eve Duncan, Joe Quinn, Sarah, Logan, Elena, Galen, Judd Morgan can fail so utterly in infusing life and energy into her newest creations.

My advice, save your money on this one, at least in hardcover. This book might be a tolerable paperback read if you are in a bind, and want something that won't tax your brain or require any emotional investment.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Creepy Men and Annoying Women 14 July 2005
By Irish Accountant - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I am getting ready to move to our new house and needed a new book to read. Well for some reason this one did not get packed so I grabbed it. What a waste of time. First of all Jane has to be one of the most annoying characters I have come across in a long time. I was actually cheering for Aldo to kill her just so she would shut up. Then Trevor (an adult male) having a crush on Jane (a 17 year old girl) was just creepy. I do not care if he was there to try and help no preverted man who is lusting after my high school daughter is coming into our lives.

The plot was pathetic and after all the building up to catch Aldo the writer ends the climax in like two paragraphs.

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
What has happened to Eve Duncan? 12 April 2005
By Mike Milam - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Where did Iris Johansen put Eve Duncan after so many successful years?

I have read all but two of Johansen's books. I am an admirer of her character Eve Duncan. She developed Eve over the years to be a very strong character.

Blind Alley is a very disappointing piece of work. It's almost as if Johansen decided to make Eve weak in order to make Jane strong. And who is Mark Trevor and why do we need yet another 'rascal' male lead to make the female lead more 'credible'? Poor dialogue. Hardly credible plot line. Strange supporting cast. Bad choice.

Whoever advised Johansen to proceed with this work is looking for new money, not old fans.

Too bad.

Not a good read.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Good read 15 Oct. 2004
By M.V. - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I like the characters and the plot, even though it is far fetched. Readers of Eve Duncan series may be dissapointed as this book deals more with Jane (the daughter). I hope that Ms. Johansen ages Jane a little more in the next book. It is hard to imagine adults taking orders from a 17 yr.old no matter how rational they may be.
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