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The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh

The Blinds

by Adam Sternbergh

Quick take

"Seamlessly mixes the western and thriller genres, crafting a tense and unsettling read that brings to mind Cormac McCarthy."

Why I love it

Tyler Coates

I have to admit something: Several times in the last few months I’ve wanted to snap my laptop shut and throw it across a room. I have yelled at my television and deleted social media apps from my phone. And I’ve often thought, "It would be really nice to get away from everything, disconnect from the world, live a quiet life in the middle of nowhere, and forget about it all."

Reading The Blinds, however, snapped me out of it even as it provided a satisfying escape. The title refers to a remote, off the grid town in the middle of Texas—a place named Caesura, a small village the locals call "the Blinds." No one is really a local, per se; everyone who lives in Caesura came there from someplace else, although their origins are unknown. Their identities have been swiped from their brains in a very Eternal Sunshine fashion—not because they were hoping to escape some sort of heartbreak, however, but because they are trying to escape violence in their past.

The people who live in the Blinds have new identities and choose brand new names by combining the names of Hollywood actors and vice presidents: So for instance, Greta Fillmore runs the local bar, Spiro Mitchum keeps the store fully stocked, and Calvin Cooper patrols as town sheriff. The residents of Caesura are hiding from themselves, too—some are former criminals, while others (they hope) are innocents mixed up in bad business and in need of a new life and new identity'”witness protection at its most extreme.

This experimental sanctuary—not quite utopia or dystopia—starts to crack when one of the residents is discovered dead from an apparent suicide. Weeks later, another man ends up dead, and it’s up to Sheriff Cooper to keep the townspeople calm and to put the pieces of the puzzle together. With a twist at every turn, the peaceful community starts to reveal a troubling darkness hidden beneath its rocky, dusty surface. It’s not long before the town erupts into violent chaos, a staggering conclusion that comes at you as fast as a freight train.

With The Blinds, Adam Sternbergh seamlessly mixes the western and thriller genres, crafting a tense and unsettling read that brings to mind Cormac McCarthy and the truly weird work of Shirley Jackson. But The Blinds isn’t just homage—Sternbergh is a master all his own. This cast of characters imprisoned by their forgotten identities is enough to make you appreciate knowing exactly who you are, and where. Even if the world around you can be maddening, at least it’s familiar.

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For fans of Cormac McCarthy, Jim Thompson, the Coen Brothers, and Lost.

Imagine a place populated by criminals—people plucked from their lives, with their memories altered, who’ve been granted new identities and a second chance. Welcome to The Blinds, a dusty town in rural Texas populated by misfits who don’t know if they’ve perpetrated a crime or just witnessed one. What’s clear to them is that if they leave, they will end up dead.

For eight years, Sheriff Calvin Cooper has kept an uneasy peace—but after a suicide and a murder in quick succession, the town’s residents revolt. Cooper has his own secrets to protect, so when his new deputy starts digging, he needs to keep one step ahead of her—and the mysterious outsiders who threaten to tear the whole place down. The more he learns, the more the hard truth is revealed: The Blinds is no sleepy hideaway. It’s simmering with violence and deception, aching heartbreak and dark betrayals.

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Member thoughts

All (4472)
All (4472)
Love (1843)
Like (2266)
Dislike (363)
4635 ratings
  • 40% Love
  • 49% Like
  • 8% Dislike
  • Holbrook, NY

    I’m not one for reading & not stopping for fear of a book being over too quickly, but the brilliantly fast pacing of this book makes it perfect for binge reading. More twists & more turns as it goes.

  • ann arbor, MI

    I really enjoyed this subtle sci fi novel. The protagonist reminds me of the sheriff from Stranger Things, but other than that, it seemed wholly realized. Would like more fiction set in this universe.

  • Sheffield, AL

    Amazing how this author made you really like the residents of The Blinds even after you found out all their dirty secrets. You really end up rooting for them. Excellent writing made for a great read.

  • durham, NC

    I love anything dystopian and this book delivers page after page. Every word is written with intention and really wrenches every emotion. Twists throughout the book which makes this a real page turner

  • Minneapolis, MN

    Maybe it's the bizarre love of serial killers, but the backstory of residents made this book for me. I also loved that it wasn't a typical mystery and you're instead trying to make sense of the world.

  • Arvada, CO

    What memories would you erase if you could? Do our memories make us who we are? What decisions would you make if you didn't know your history? Really enjoyed this book and the questions it provoked.

  • Safford, AZ

    This book had a few slow parts, but had enough mystery to keep me intrigued. I loved not knowing where this book was going. I liked how many different points of view there were and the ending was good

  • Apple Valley, CA

    This was a good read, definitely something to read on a slow day. It's a psychological modern western. Originally, I had just liked this book but as time has passed I've realized I actually loved it.

  • Philadelphia, PA

    I like the concept of the story. I think it was set up well and the characters were believable. It makes you ponder if certain events or memories are removed from memory would people be better off.

  • Wilmington, NC

    From the moment I started, I couldn't put this book down. The main plot, the sub plots, and the twists and turns, kept me wanting more. The book is well paced and full of twists and turns. I loved it!

  • Clawson, MI

    I loved this book so much. It was one i wouldn't normally choose and I'm so happy i did. It's a story that makes you gasp in shock. It left me with so many questions, in a good way. Kept my attention.

  • Colorado Springs, CO

    I really enjoyed how nothing was as it seems. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out there a plot twist. Definitely a story that comes alive and seems oddly realistic which adds to the story.

  • Manchester , CT

    This was a great book! You would try to figure out what was up and when you did, it was too late! All heck broke loose, but by the power of unity, the citizens prevailed, and the bad guys lost! Great!

  • Brighton , MA

    This book is unputdownable! Although I managed to guess at some of the plot twists the end still left me reeling. I've never loved a criminal cast so much. Can't wait to read Sternbergh's other books!

  • Garfield Heights, OH

    I enjoyed this book! Well written. It was interesting and different from most I have read. The characters were fantastic! I would read more from this author! Fingers crossed this hits the big screen!!

  • Sierra Madre, CA

    I couldn't put this book down. The innumerable twists and turns kept me hooked! I found myself wishing that it would be made into a HBO show so I could actually see the characters and their adventures

  • Palo Alto, CA

    I loved the way this story unfolded, giving each character their turn to be in the spotlight so to speak. A few twists and turns, and a satisfying ending. Very creative plot. Could not put it down.

  • South Hamilton, MA

    I loved the fact that when a huge information bomb would be dropped in the story, I almost wouldn't believe it at first. The book was anything but predictable. You almost didn't know who to root for!

  • Milwaukee , WI

    Really liked this one. Such an interesting concept. I feel like it could’ve went on and on telling the background stories of all the people. Started slow but picked up and I couldn’t put it down.

  • Richmond Heights, OH

    The story was very interesting and unique. I had never read or heard of a storyline like this, which was fast-paced and moved along quickly. I couldn't wait to keep reading. I enjoyed it quite a bit!

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