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The Naked Eye


The Naked Eye

THE NAKED EYE opens in FBI consultant Kendra Michaels’ bedroom when she awakens, drenched in perspiration, from the recurring nightmare she’s had nightly for months. Often a reader will detach from such an opening sequence, but Kendra’s dream sets up Iris and Roy Johansen’s latest thriller as the basis for the action to come. Her clouded vision has her floating in a pool of blood, the victim of cold-blooded killer Eric Colby. The reality stands that Colby was executed for his crimes nearly four years previously. Kendra had broken and captured him, yet the nightmares persist.

At 3:30am Kendra drags out of bed, answering a call from Martin Stokes, a San Diego homicide detective. The crime scene is a young wife lying in a pool of blood, and it takes Kendra only minutes to observe the room and give the detective the killer’s identity. Powers of observation honed to a fine gift while she had been blind for 20 years are her credibility. Blessed by an operation to regain her sight, she fine-tunes the gift as a crime investigator. But the Colby case is an enigma; she alone believes him to be alive.

"The action is continuous, suppositions conflicting and murders too numerous. THE NAKED EYE is a suspenseful drama perfect for your end-of-summer reading."

The next day, Kendra answers a call from the Olancha Police Department about an assault case involving her good friend Eve Duncan’s sister, Beth Avery, who has been jailed for putting a six-foot man in the hospital. Beth’s martial arts skills have landed her there; she put down the bully who tried to force himself on a college girl at a local bar. She posts bail, and the two search for the wounded man. He is determined to press charges, but Kendra threatens him with images from a security camera. Beth is freed to leave with Kendra after the bully gives the sheriff a written statement of her innocence. Kendra likens Beth’s adventure-seeking to her own “freedom” days after regaining her sight. Beth’s past life is far more tragic, but Kendra understands.

Meanwhile, a business card shoved under her condo’s door jolts Kendra into a case of the shakes. Reporter Sheila Hunter has information that Colby is alive, and arranges to meet her at a rooftop hotel bar. She produces crime scene photographs taken of a double murder in a hotel room, and the arms of both victims are in bizarre positions. Now convinced that Colby is responsible for these deaths, Kendra presses for the photos, but Sheila protects “her source” and keeps them. 

The next move takes Kendra to Agent Michael Griffin at the local FBI office. She lays out all the facts that Sheila has shown to prove that Colby is not dead. Griffin counters her every statement with FBI logic and proof of the execution. Finally, he agrees to call the Redondo Beach PD and request the photos. Adam Lynch, Kendra’s confidant, love interest and self-appointed protector, arrives with the pictures. She immediately sees that the scene is not the same as Sheila’s set. The room is a clone of the one with the positioned corpses but not identical. 

Realizing that she has been duped, Kendra phones Sheila after looking at the latest newspaper headlines on her tablet: “DELUDED FBI CONSULTANT BELIEVES EXECUTED INMATE STILL ALIVE.” Sheila scoffs and rebukes Kendra for believing that Colby is still alive. Exhausted by the verbal confrontation, Kendra falls asleep on her couch only to be rudely roused by a door-banging Adam. He drags her outside and into his Ferrari for a speed-trip to the marina. There, dangling from a guide rope wrapped around her neck, is Sheila, hung on the top of the houseboat’s tall mast. Will Kendra be accused of this heinous crime?

Iris and Roy Johansen set up the plot carefully, introducing the major players with details of personality, training, background and emotional involvement. They leave no question as to motive for gruesome scenes yet to come. We see into Colby’s dark mind, his obsession with Kendra, and his diabolical plans for her. She does indeed become a suspect and must produce evidence to disprove the theory.

Eve Duncan makes a surprise appearance later in the story, reinforcing the bonds among her, Beth and Kendra. The Johansens successfully bring a computer-hacking scheme into play, both as a scare tactic and as fuel for problem-solving. The action is continuous, suppositions conflicting and murders too numerous. THE NAKED EYE is a suspenseful drama perfect for your end-of-summer reading.

Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on August 7, 2015

The Naked Eye
by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen

  • Publication Date: December 29, 2015
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 1250079012
  • ISBN-13: 9781250079015