When the advance reader’s copy of Alice Close Your Eyes by Averil Dean arrived, I ripped open the package with relish. Or, as Averil might say, I tore the corner with my teeth and slid my palm inside the envelope to grip the slick cover inside, because Averil writes erotic noir.
But who am I kidding? She’d say something much better than that. Averil Dean could render any routine scenario with enough finesse and appeal to make a phlegmatic old bookworm tremble and gush.
So I read it. I couldn’t put it down. I read it over my toast, on the train, at a cafe, and even in bed lying next to my oblivious husband. The world Averil writes is alluringly dark, her characters are delectably fucked up, the sex is the kind I fantasized about back when I was young and reckless, and the writing is grab-your-throat good. During breaks at work I tried to keep a straight face and at the doctor’s office waiting room, I kept glancing at my fellow waiters to see if they had any idea what was happening on the pages in front of me.
You’d never know, looking at the gorgeous cover.
Really, this blurb does not convey the ineffable appeal of Averil’s writing. (Visit her blog to get an idea of what I’m talking about.) Averil Dean has a knack for cutting detail: an image of a grandmother soaring like a bird to her death, a child’s bicycle imbedded in a tree, a blind albino girl with hair like spiderwebs, the fine wooden box a man uses to hide his secrets. Apart from the plot and the characters and the juicy bits, not separate from but weaving it all together, Averil’s cool voice rasps in your ear, conveying surgical psychological insight with resonant detail, in thrilling tones.
Averil Dean can write.
Alice Close Your Eyes officially releases today. If you like your books with a page-turning plot plus smart and beautiful writing covered in mystery with the sexy parts left in, buy it now from an independent bookstore if you can.