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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Those Empty Eyes


Narrator: Vivienne Leheny

Recorded Books

ISBN: 9781496727176

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: 03/28/2023

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)



You know her name.

You know her face.

You know those eyes…


Ten years after she was exonerated for the slaughter of her family, the girl the tabloids called “Empty Eyes” is the only one looking for the truth in this propulsive excoriation of our cultural obsession with true crime from #1 internationally bestselling author Charlie Donlea.


Alex Armstrong has changed everything about herself—her name, her appearance, her backstory. She’s no longer the terrified teenager a rapt audience saw on television, emerging in handcuffs from the quiet suburban home the night her family was massacred. That girl, Alexandra Quinlan, nicknamed Empty Eyes by the media, was accused of the killings, fought to clear her name, and later took the stand during her highly publicized defamation lawsuit that captured the attention of the nation.


It’s been ten years since, and Alex hasn’t stopped searching for answers about the night her family was killed, even as she continues to hide her real identity from true crime fanatics and grasping reporters still desperate to locate her. As a legal investigator, she works tirelessly to secure justice for others, too. People like Matthew Claymore, who’s under suspicion in the disappearance of his girlfriend, a student journalist named Laura McAllister.


Laura was about to break a major story about rape and cover-ups on her college campus. Alex believes Matthew is innocent, and unearths stunning revelations about the university’s faculty, fraternity members, and powerful parents willing to do anything to protect their children.


Most shocking of all—as Alex digs into Laura’s disappearance, she realizes there are unexpected connections to the murder of her own family. For as different as the crimes may seem, they each hinge on one sinister truth: no one is quite who they seem to be . . .








My Review



Charlie Donlea returns following Twenty Years Later with his latest crime thriller, THOSE EMPTY EYES —a teen who has lost her family due to a brutal murder and must reinvent herself.


2013, McIntosh, VA: Alexandra Quinlan's parents, Dennis and Helen, accountants, and thirteen-year-old brother, Raymond, have been murdered by a shooter.


When the police arrive, Alexandra is in her parent's bedroom with the shotgun in her lap. She saved herself by hiding behind the grandfather clock in the hallway.


She was dubbed "Empty Eyes" as she was being handcuffed and accused of the murder by the media. She was initially charged with the killings. Her name was cleared after filing a lawsuit and won.


In 2023 Alex Armstrong changed her name, appearance, and everything about herself. She was exonerated from the crime. Now she is a legal investigator for a prominent law firm for Garrett Lancaster, the same lawyer who represented her in her defamation case.


As a legal investigator, Alex seeks justice for her clients. Her current client, Matthew Claymore, is under suspicion in the disappearance of his girlfriend, a student journalist named Laura McAllister.


Laura was about to break a powerful story about rape and corruption on her college campus. Alex believes Matthew is innocent and unearths stunning revelations about the university's faculty, fraternity members, and influential parents willing to do anything to protect their children.


As Alex digs into Laura's disappearance, she realizes there are unexpected connections to the murder of her own family. No one is quite who they seem to be . . .


Part One The Final Witness 2013

District Courthouse, McIntosh, VA


Part Two The Escape 2015

Paris, France

Zurich, Switzerland

Cambridge, England

London, England


Part Three The Return 2023

Camp Montague Appalachian Mountains

Manhattan, New York

Washington, DC


Part Four A Missing Persons Case 2023

Camp Montague Appalachian Mountains

Washington, DC

Manhattan, NY


Part Five Revelations 2023

Camp Montague Appalachian Mountains

Washington, DC


Part Six The Profile of a Killer 2023

Camp Montague Appalachian Mountains

Washington, DC

Wytheville, VA


Part Seven Full Circle 2023

Washington, DC

McIntosh, VA

London, England

The Appalachian Mountains


As you can see, the book moved/jumped around worldwide with numerous characters and side plots, which did not add to the overall story. It was too much, which took away from the main storyline. However, it kept you reading to find out the killer's identity, which was surprising.


From a vigilante, murders, abuse in a youth camp, campus rapes, a sex trafficking ring, legal system, exploitation, assault on children, child pornography, financial misdeeds, entitlement, corruption, embezzlement, and more.


The best was when Dr. Lane Phillips appeared (one of my favorites from the Rory Moore/Lane Phillips series, Some Choose Darkness.


A fan of the author and an excellent thriller writer, and have read all of his books, but this one was too complex and could have been simplified without all the sidetracks. It could have been several books.


Looking forward to seeing what comes next from Donlea.


Thank you to Kensington Books via NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: March 28, 2023

My Rating: 4 Stars


Praise


“Excellent…Engrossing…This searing look at the legal system, entitlement, and exploitation is not to be missed.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED review


"In this ambitious thriller from one of my favorites, Charlie Donlea weaves together seemingly separate mysteries in smart and completely unexpected ways, proving his finesse as a writer. Those Empty Eyes draws readers in from the first heart-stopping pages and doesn't let go until the end. Donlea's fans will love this one!"

—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Local Woman Missing






About the Author


Charlie Donlea is the critically acclaimed, USA Today, Indiebound and #1 internationally bestselling author of Summit Lake, The Girl Who Was Taken, Don't Believe It, Some Choose Darkness, The Suicide House, and Twenty Years Later. Published in nearly 30 countries and translated into more than a dozen languages, Donlea has been praised for his "soaring pace, teasing plot twists" (BookPage) and talent for writing an ending that "makes your jaw drop" (The New York Times Book Review). He was born and raised in Chicago, where he continues to live with his wife and two children. Visit him online at CharlieDonlea.com.

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