Member Reviews

As usual Charlie Donlea wrote another good read.
I loved the strength in Alex and the relationship she had with Annette although that came later in the story.

I love it when authors create strong female characters.
You will see there are a few of those in this story and they don’t disappoint.
And once you get to the last few pages you will see a twist you just may not of saw coming.

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𝗠𝘆 𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴: 4 ⭐️
🤍𝗚𝗲𝗻𝗿𝗲: thriller
📖 368 pages
𝗘𝗺𝗼𝗷𝗶𝘀: 🚔👨🏼‍⚖️🔫🩸🕵🏻‍♂️⚖️🪟👀🇨🇭🎙️💉

𝗪𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗜 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗲𝗻𝗱? 👍🏼

🧡𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲🧡

Thank you @netgalley @kensingtonbooks for the #gifted copy!

THOSE EMPTY EYES was a wild ride! Having had it on my TBR list for far too long, I am thrilled I finally picked it up. The story is packed with intertwined mysteries & crimes that maintain your interest & keep you guessing from start to finish. With multiple motives, instances of sabotage, & several wrongly accused characters, it's difficult to know who to trust.

The book’s structure adds to the intrigue, being told from multiple POV & shifting between past & present chapters. There are even a few chapters where the perspective is intentionally ambiguous, adding an extra layer of mystery. This complexity makes the story particularly engaging & suspenseful.

I did find it challenging to keep track of all the characters at times, however. While I guessed the shocking twist at the end, the story still kept me on the edge of my seat. True crime enthusiasts will love this book, as it features numerous crimes & even includes a podcaster determined to uncover a major secret. The connections between the stories unfolded in a satisfying way, making the read well worth it. I absolutely recommend!

⚠️ shooting, rape, child pornography

𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝗶𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲:
◽️ court trials
◽️ dual timelines
◽️ short chapters
◽️ multiple POV
◽️ lots of characters
◽️ suspense & podcasts

𝗣𝗹𝗼𝘁: Alex Armstrong has completely reinvented herself to escape her past as Alexandra Quinlan, who was once accused of her family's murder. 10 years later, she continues to seek answers about that night while concealing her true identity. Now a legal investigator, Alex is dedicated to helping others, including Matthew Claymore, suspected in the disappearance of his girlfriend Laura McAllister. Laura was on the verge of exposing a major scandal at her college involving rape & cover-ups. As Alex investigates, she discovers shocking links between Laura's case & her own family's murder, revealing that no one is quite who they seem to be.

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4 stars-This book was interesting and different than I expected. You start your ride with the murder of a family, and their teenage daughter who survives gets arrested. Flashback and forward to the trial where she sues the city for defamation. Part 2, she moves to England to “start over” chaos ensues, she’s back in the US. We are then introduced to a variety of characters and storylines that slowly weave together to solve the murder of the family. OK, so I liked this book, and I normally LOVE Charlie Donlea…I did find that there was maybe a bit too much going on that I didn’t care about and two storylines that I wish were fleshed out more. Not my favorite of Donlea’s but I will still read everything he writes. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the arc. All opinions are my own.

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An engaging read that I thoroughly enjoyed! Highly recommend and will purchase several physical and digital copies for library collections. Thank you!!

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Tense and surprising, this is a solid but disturbing story with plenty of twists. Readers may want to check trigger warnings on this one before they start.

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I’m not sure how I feel about this one still. I liked it while I was reading it but I found it very forgettable. I did really like the characters and the story line.

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I love Charlie Donlea’s books! This is the 7th book of his that I’ve read and they’ve all been excellent - so well-written and really hard to put down. At 17 years old, Alexandra Quinlan becomes the sole survivor when her parents and 13 year-old brother are violently murdered in their home. Alexandra is found by the police in her parents’ bedroom holding the shotgun that killed them, so she’s arrested and charged with their murders. A reporter believing she’s a killer describes her as Empty Eyes. After proving she was wrongly charged, Alexandra sues the state of Virginia and wins a hefty settlement in her defamation lawsuit. Ten years later, she’s Alex Armstrong - having changed her name and appearance to distance herself from her awful past. She has never stopped looking for answers about what happened to her family even though most of the world is still convinced that she killed them. While working as a private investigator for a law firm, Alex gets involved with a case that seems like it might be connected to her family’s murders. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together may prove to be very dangerous for Alex. I enjoyed the cameo appearances of Avery Mason from Twenty Years Later and Lane Phillips from Some Choose Darkness and The Suicide House. I definitely recommend reading Those Empty Eyes and I’m looking forward to reading Donlea’s next book. Thanks to #netgalley #kensingtonbooks and #charliedonlea for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Lots of twists and turns, with essentially three storylines going. Suspenseful, quickly moving, and I really enjoyed the smart way all the threads were woven together.

Thank you Netgalley and Kensington Books, Kensington for the enjoyable ARC!

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I really liked Alex and wanted her story to continue! This was a great story that kept me up late at night because I didn't want to stop. Lots of suspense!

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This story is told in third person, but primarily follows the case of a teenage girl, Alex, whose entire family was murdered in their home one night in 2013. The police initially suspected and arrested Alex for the murders, but the book starts with her lawsuit against the state for defamation.

I enjoyed the way the story began as a court battle slowly revealing the details of the murder of the family and the characters that were involved in the case, then evolved into a background investigation in the life of the adult Alex still searching for answers while dodging the media and trying to build a life for herself with the help of Garrett and Donna, the couple who took her in and tried to give her love and support. These chapters are interspersed with other narratives that the reader can infer are going to connect to the mystery at some point.

I couldn’t put this one down once I started, switching between audio and ebook as my day went on to finish it. I made some assumptions that I shouldn’t have and was absolutely surprised by the way things turned out in the end. And those that have read Charlie Donlea will enjoy the cameo by Lane Phillips.

Recommended to mystery/thriller lovers

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for a copy provided for an honest review.

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What a journey! I enjoyed all the twist, turns, and struggles of this story. She is able to make it all into something good in the end but not without the battle of a lifetime. While there was a lot happening in this story, I did feel it lacked depth and maturity. It almost seemed like a young adult book to me which is why I rated it as I did.

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Those Empty Eyes was a great read by Charlie Donlea. Alex Armstrong changed her name, appearance and her backstory. At one point in time she was a terrified teenager that the world saw on television, coming out of her home in handcuffs the night that her family was murdered. Her name was Alexandra Quinlan and her nickname by the media was Empty Eyes. She was accused of the killings, had to fight to clear her name by taking the stand during her defamation lawsuit. In the last ten years, Alex hasn’t stopped searching for answers about the night of the murder. She is a legal investigator that works to secure justice for other people. I enjoyed reading this book and can’t wait to read more by the author.

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I have had good luck with the author's books. Most of the ones that I have managed to get my hands on (although I admit there aren't too many of them) were ones I enjoyed for one reason or another. This standalone was no exception. Although by now, I should have gotten used to the kind of epilogue I read, I had to read it one more time just to ensure I was not mistaken in what I took away from it!
There is a small dual timeline element to the narrative, one which goes into the past to show us some piece of information that might come out as important later in the current storyline.
In the present, we jump a few years every once in a while before we settle onto a steady narrative. First, we have an almost adult who is brought in for her parent's death, and her face is published all over the papers. The world declares her guilty even before anything about the events is established, and this is a scar she carries for the rest of her life. It is a very moving and scary picture painted for someone to have undergone such public censure and to have a never-ending number of people bent on finding her guilty or being punished in some form.
Alex is the investigator for the law firm that saved her - she ensures that the people they represent do not have any hidden issues and can be defended to the best of their ability. I am not going into any of the storylines in the book solely because the author does a great job in leading us down all those plot points, and even with the thriller content, nothing feels voyeuristic or gratuitous, making an intriguing and absorbing read.
As mentioned earlier, the ending caught me by surprise, and that put a nice bow on everything, even if it left me a little restless about it all.
I would highly recommend it to fans of the genre.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

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This is the second book I have read by Charlie Donlea and they will definitely be an autobuy author for me.

I loved all of the twists and turns that this book took. From the beginning sentence to the end, I was at the edge of my seat!!

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I spent the first day of a cruise thoroughly engrossed in Charlie Donlea's Those Empty Eyes. What better way is there to start your holiday? I was similarly absorbed in his previous book In Twenty Years, and was incredibly happy not to be disappointed in this book, but rather wondered why it took me so long to get this one off my unread Netgalley shelf!

Those Empty Eyes commences with the gruesome murder of a family, with the sole survivor teenage daughter being accused of the crime. In different time jumps the book traverses her experiences from teenager, to aadult private investigator for the lawyer who helped her beat the murder wrap (slight spoiler ... she is innocent) across continents and identities. There's alot to consider in this book as there's another plotline that is seemingly unrelated until it's not. My only complaint is I think it was made a little more complicated than it needed to be, as I got a little lost in the details about 2/3 through. It was just too many moving parts and I felt it could have been a little tighter.

It is a compelling story though and the ending is one for the ages.

Nearly perfect = 4.5 stars.

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In 2013, the Quinlan family endured a horrific tragedy when an unknown assailant brutally gunned down Alexandra Quinlan’s parents and younger brother in their own home. Astonishingly, seventeen-year-old Alexandra was the sole survivor, found unharmed amid the chaos. However, her traumatic ordeal took an unexpected twist when she was treated as a suspect, taken into custody, and unfairly dubbed “Empty Eyes” by an overzealous journalist, leaving her reputation tarnished. Despite the lack of concrete evidence to convict her, she successfully won a defamation case against the State. Law enforcement attributed the incident to a botched home invasion and didn’t delve deeper into the investigation. Yet, Alexandra never ceased her relentless quest to uncover her family’s true murderer.

A decade later, Alexandra, now known as Alex, works as a legal investigator at the very firm that once assisted her. However, her relentless pursuit of justice for her family has led to countless dead ends, marked by a crime board dominating her apartment walls.

This narrative offers a thrilling, suspenseful journey that kept me riveted to its pages. The author’s storytelling prowess shines as they masterfully unveil surprising twists and turns in the plot.

Overall, this compelling tale ensnared my attention right from the outset, delivering a suspenseful and engaging narrative that left a lasting impression.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for sending a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Alexandra Quinlan was the only survivor when her parents and brother were killed in their home. She was arrested and charged with their murder. The local reporter on the scene called her Empty Eyes as she stared blankly while being taken from their home. She was acquitted and sued the police. She got a nice settlement, then disappeared. She changed her name to Alex Armstrong and tried to stay out of the limelight. She never gave up on finding out the truth about her family's murder. It is ten years later and she is working as a legal investigator. She is trying to find evidence to prove that Matthew Claymore, is not responsible for 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. As Alex investigates what Laura is working on, she begins to find connections to the murder of her parents.

The book opens with a bang, the horrendous murder of three people and one barely escaping with her life. Alex is sitting by her parent's bodies with the weapon in her lap when the police arrive. Jacqueline Jordan and Garrett Lancaster defend her as well as working the suit against the police. That is the firm that Alex now works for. Then, Charlie Donlea adds more to the story. We have the disappearance of a college student who is working on the story of rape, drugging co-eds and coverups, as well as a summer camp where there is a pedophile on staff. How does all this fit together had my brain going around in circles. When I thought I had something sorted, there was new evidence that had me starting over. This is a twisty story with a smart, courageous, strong, protagonist. Although I enjoyed this story, there were a few too many twists and things that were unbelievable to give it 5 stars. If you enjoy a twisty thriller that needs you to suspend belief and just go with the flow, then you will enjoy Those Empty Eyes.

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I'm a fan of Charlie Donlea's Twenty Years Later and this next book was just a captivating. The writing is stellar and the pace had my heart racing! Did not expect the ending at all! A thrilling ride!

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This book started off with such a compelling plot, but the main storyline in the opening chapters -- of Alexandra Quinlan and how her life is affected by the deaths of her family -- kind of dwindles to focus on other things. The story moves ten years into the future and completely changes focus. Alexandra reinvents herself as Alex Armstrong, and she becomes a private investigator for the law firm that helped get her acquitted when she was accused of her family's murders. Nothing wrong there, except that the plot moves completely away from that part as if it's just a backdrop and then goes in a different direction. I almost felt like this was two books mashed into one.

Also, the amount of info dumping and unrealistic dialogue in this book made me start skimming about three-fourths of the way through. I guessed the identity of the killer of Alex's family around that point and wanted to know if I was right (I was.) The explanation for the killer, though, was kind of clumsy and only loosely tied together at best. There were many questions left unanswered (which I won't mention here because of spoilers.) The first one-third of the book had me hooked; later on, it kind of became too far-reaching in its story. I started to forget who some people were because so many other characters came into play.

This one was just so-so for me.

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This book started off very strong and had me hooked right away, and then it literally dragged me through the rest of the story, this book is long! Both in length and in feeling. The final twist and ending was good. I would suggest getting a library copy. I thank Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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