Written by Kate White — Robin Trainer is ecstatic at the success of her new book, and she loves her even newer job as a host of a nightly entertainment show too. Success hasn’t come easy to Robin, though, and while navigating the ins and outs of the TV biz is what she does best, she still mourns a failed marriage and knows that what she has is tenuous. She could lose it all in a second. She has great on-screen chemistry with her co-host, Carter, and off screen too, but she vows not to get involved with him, to keep it strictly professional.
Her resolve starts to waver when she begins receiving threats in the studio. They starts out small, with a nasty note, but soon things get more menacing. Although jealousy isn’t uncommon in this business, there’s certainly a point where things can go too far. Eventually, they do, and it ends in murder. Robin is being carefully and systematically sabotaged, and she realises she can’t trust anyone. After she goes to her network for help and finds that’s a dead end, she sets out to conduct her own investigation before her life and career go completely down the drain.
Kate White only recently left Cosmopolitan magazine after a 14-year stint as editor-in-chief, so her credentials when it comes to the high octane world of New York entertainment, news and publishing are impeccable. Her writing isn’t bad, but her ability to craft an effective thriller leaves quite a lot to be desired. Robin is supposed to be a woman that has been through a lot, including quite a bit of heartbreak as a child. She is expected to be seen as smart and savvy. Yet through the entire book she consistently makes unwise decisions, like carrying on an affair with her co-host, after specifically pointing out that it was forbidden. While it’s not a no-no in her contract, it could be argued that a relationship with a co-host could cause significant issues, especially if things were to go sour. It’s hard to sympathise with a protagonist painted in a strong, smart light when they don’t stick to their guns when the going gets tough.
Robin gets annoyed when someone in her circle divulges information about the harassment to someone else, yet persistently lets details drop about the situation herself. Surely discretion would have been warranted – even with those that Robin thinks she can trust.
That said, people aren’t perfect, and some things could be forgiven if Eyes on You were the chilling thriller it aimed to be. However, with flat characters and one of the most by-the-numbers set-ups I’ve ever read, it just never gets off the ground. Some thrillers reveal the ‘who’ at the outset, and that can work. This is not one of them. A huge red herring is thrown in at the outset, and we’re meant to be shocked by the big reveal. Even a casual crime reader will see the culprit coming a mile off. Eyes On You is consistently lackluster and decidedly not suspenseful. Give this one a pass.
CFL Rating: 2 Stars