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The Tarnished Eye: A Novel of Suspense (Guest, Judith) Hardcover – 21 Jun 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (21 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0641816839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743257367
  • ASIN: 0743257367
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.6 x 23.7 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,225,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Pete Hautmanauthor of "Mrs. Million"Judith Guest brings new depth and emotion to the police procedural with this finely woven tale of family, death, duty, and redemption.

About the Author

Judith Guest won the Janet Heidegger Kafka Prize for her first novel, Ordinary People, which was made into the Academy Award-winning 1980 film of the same name. Her other novels are Second Heaven, Killing Time in St. Cloud (with Rebecca Hill) and Errands . She lives with her family in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Harrisville, Michigan. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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HUGH DEWITT stands at the window, looking out at his wife as she gently uproots slips of lettuce from the soil. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 21 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
There's no way to put this mystery down once you've begun it 5 July 2004
By Bookreporter - Published on
Format: Hardcover
You hear (or read) the name "Judith Guest" and you think ORDINARY PEOPLE. And that creates ... expectations. About the last thing you expect is a mystery. One can sympathize with Guest's publicist, who must spend time in equal shares explaining what THE TARNISHED EYE, Guest's newest book, is and is not. The best place to begin for our purposes would be to state that it is not a disappointment; it is indeed very, very good.
Guest's prose is spare, which is not to say it's simple. She simply does not waste words, and uses them well. Her narration --- here she uses the third person present --- compels and commands reading; there is no way to put down THE TARNISHED EYE once you have begun reading.
Guest's tale is based on two true-life crimes that occurred in Michigan in the 1960s. One of them --- the brutal murder of a family of six in northern Michigan --- abruptly intrudes into the life of Hugh DeWitt, the Sheriff of otherwise idyllic Blessed, Michigan. DeWitt, still grieving over the loss of his infant son years before, is emotionally ill-prepared to investigate the carnage that he finds at the summer home of the wealthy Norbois family from Ann Arbor.
DeWitt nonetheless doggedly investigates the matter, and soon finds that suspects abound. Paige Norbois was having an affair, while her husband Edward had discovered that his business partner was embezzling from the company. One of their sons had a confrontation with a couple of ne'er-do-wells from the town on the night of the murders, and a local handyman is caught absconding with evidence at the scene of the crime.
DeWitt's investigation takes him to Ann Arbor, which is awash in terror, thanks to the serial murders of four young women. DeWitt is troubled by some of the similarities between the Ann Arbor murders and the Norbois killings. When Norbois's business partner commits suicide, it appears that DeWitt's investigation has come to a close. It is in fact, however, only beginning. DeWitt's plodding but methodical investigative style is extremely effective. He never draws his gun, or even raises his hand in anger throughout the course of THE TARNISHED EYE. Indeed, all of the violent acts giving impetus to the investigations take place off of the page, but the overriding impression is that DeWitt is a force to be reckoned with, a man who should not be underestimated.
Guest is not a prolific author, but what she perhaps lacks in quantity she makes up for in quality. THE TARNISHED EYE, as with all of her work, has been worth waiting for and will hopefully expose her to a new and wider audience.
--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Read in one sitting... 17 Oct 2004
By C. Bridges - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Though simply written, this was a novel I couldn't put down. The slower character development in the beginning pays off when the pace picks up mid-novel and never stops. There are plenty of small twists to the plot and every character gets their due. I think the strength of this novel set in Northern Michigan is that it is underwritten. You read on to get more...more sense of the victims, more sense of the community, more sense of the killer. The characters were so real I still find myself thinking about them. Reading this story makes me want to go into the archives and read about the true murders that this story was based on. A VERY intriguing read.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Far above standard genre fare... 30 Nov 2004
By Robert Wellen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Guest's book transcends the standard thriller/whodunit...thankfully it did not have a some stupid action scene or the usual scene where the cops explain the entire "whys" of the crime. One of the cool things about this book is that Guest never fully explains the whys of the murders. The whodunit is not completely impossible to figure, but as you read it, you might well be surprised along the way. The characters are people you are care about (however Karen might be a bit too perfect) and Hugh is wonderful. It reads fast, but not because it lightweight. It is welcome addition to the genre and well worth your time.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Real Deal 19 Mar 2005
By Carolyn Rowe Hill - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Guest at a book signing last fall. In attendance were fourteen of her sorority sisters from her college days. What a special night it was for them. The overall turnout was excellent, and the audience appreciated Ms. Guest's comments, her discussion of the real stories behind this novel, her revelation of some of her own life issues, and her thought processes behind certain fictional characters in this book, particularly that of the depressive Sheriff Hugh DeWitt. DeWitt has a difficult time seeing the positive side of anything. That does not change during the course of the story.

Ms. Guest's writing is easygoing and fluid. The book is made up of short, fast-moving chapters. The concept is a little different than the usual mystery novel as Guest includes chapters about the Norbois victims at the time they were alive. Each member of the family has his/her own chapter.

Being from Petoskey, Michigan, and very much aware of the Robison murders (Norbois) and a student at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan, during the time of John Norman Collins, I was interested in reading this book from the instant I first heard about it (one of Collins's victims was murdered two blocks from where we lived on campus). When you've been there, a story based on real events looks very different to you than to someone who knows nothing about these events. The Robison murders have never been solved. John Norman Collins remains in prison.

Judith Guest shared with us some of the fears she had about writing this story while the possibility exists that the Robison killer is still out there somewhere (even though she believes there's a connection between the Norbois murders and JNC). She also talked about some of the people still very interested in solving this horrendous crime. Hopefully, this fictionalized version of the real story will lead to that end. A good read.

Carolyn Rowe Hill
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Carnage in Michigan. 30 May 2004
By E. Bukowsky - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Judith Guest, most celebrated for her classic novel, "Ordinary People," has written a new suspense novel. The protagonist of "The Tarnished Eye" is Sheriff Hugh DeWitt, who lives in Blessed, Michigan, with his wife and young daughter. He is grief-stricken over the sudden death of his infant son, and he and his wife are trying to keep their shaky marriage going. Two other people struggling with marital problems are a wealthy couple, Paige and Edward Norbois, who have an elaborate summer home in Blessed. Edward is a stern and inflexible husband and father. Family disharmony mars what should be an idyllic vacation for Paige, Edward, and their four children.
Suddenly, a gruesome multiple homicide shocks the citizens of Blessed, and Sheriff DeWitt is under pressure to make a quick arrest. With few resources at his disposal, Dewitt has to secure the crime scene, interview witnesses, and keep the media frenzy under control. One of his prime objectives is to find out if the murderer is a random psychopath or someone who had a reason to target these particular victims.
Judith Guest has written a compelling whodunit with wonderful Michigan ambiance, engrossing characters, and plenty of suspense and red herrings to keep the reader off balance. Sheriff DeWitt is an intelligent and compassionate man who is anxious to bring justice to the victims. Unfortunately, he is too tied to the past to pay close attention to his wife's and even his own pressing emotional needs. "The Tarnished Eye" is an exciting and involving murder mystery in which Judith Guest astutely explores the dark and complex recesses of the human mind.
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