Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Those Empty Eyes by Charlie Donlea
Narrator: Vivienne Leheny
Published by Recorded Books on March 28, 2023
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Length: 10 hours, 28 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
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.
I continue to be a big fan of Charlie Donlea. Those Empty Eyes tackles the issues of child pornography, sexual abuse and trafficking but also incompetent law enforcement. So there are some triggers if that is a problem for you. There are minor mentions of characters from two other books by the author which was fun for me.
Alex, as a minor, escapes from the slaughter of her family then has to deal with law enforcement and media ghouls who harass her continually in many ways. She isn’t able to attend high school or college in the normal ways. The press is everywhere. Alex just wants to know who killed her family.
Alex, over the years, searches for clues as to why her family died. She finds bits and pieces but can’t put it together. It gets her in trouble and her attorney / father figure helps her into a job. She becomes an investigator for his law firm. It’s a good fit for her interest and skills.
A college senior doing true crime type podcasts goes missing and her boyfriend becomes a suspect. He becomes a client of the law firm. In researching the missing girl’s last story, she finds a scandal of rapes at the University with frat boys drugging women. One of the members of the frat is the son of a potential Supreme Court nominee. Alex ends up with an FBI agent, Annette, asking her to share what she has learned which is a lot. Annette’s job is to vet the judge as a possible Justice. Annette offers info in return. Alex agrees if she will help find who murdered her family. Everything races from there as Annette puts her in touch with Lane Phillips who studies serial killers
There is a lot of exciting action at various points throughout the story. I was with Alex all the way. She was hurt badly by a variety of events out of her control. Thankfully, the lawyer and his wife helped her, so she got therapy and a career. The ending is excellent as we learn who killed her family and why.
This narrator is familiar as she has narrated several of the author’s books. I was comfortable with her voices and accents. Her performance with the emotional tone added to my enjoyment. I listened at my normal 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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