Review: Behind Blue Eyes by C.S. Duffy

A British journalist moves to Sweden to live with her new boyfriend. While at a party on a private island, she discovers a decomposing body. Her boyfriend and his friends are hiding something - but what?

Behind Blue Eyes Title Image

DISCLAIMER: I received an advanced review copy of Behind Blue Eyes in exchange for an honest review.

Background

Duffy is an experienced English-born writer with a background in film and television writing. Her first murder mystery, published in the form of a blog, was so popular in Sweden that people began contacting news outlets asking why the mysterious murder wasn't being covered in the paper. She has recently finished her first series, Glasgow Kiss, and is shortly releasing a new series, The Stockholm Murders.

Review

While on holiday, British journalist Ellie falls head-over-heels for fellow holidayer and gorgeous Swede Johan. Things move quickly and, with Ellie's position as a freelance writer, she decides to uproot her life and move to Sweden. Although optimistic, Ellie feels like an outcast amongst most of Johan's life-long friends. They seem to be nice enough but not particularly eager to welcome Ellie into their group.

At an annual party for the friends, hosted on their private island, Ellie finally has enough of feeling like the extra wheel. She takes off on a walk across the island to get some space and collect her thoughts. As she stares over the edge of a cliff something catches her eye - a decomposing body. Shockingly, the discovery of the body doesn't seem too surprising to Johan and his friends, leading Ellie to believe that the group know much more than they are saying. Is her perfect partner a killer? What are he and his friends hiding from her?

Where many other crime novels fall flat with unrealistic protagonists, Behind Blue Eyes excels.

Ellie is a likeable and decidedly ordinary character. She is intimidated by the beauty and ease of Swedish women and often compares the informality of her previous life with the stoic attitude and confidence of her new Swedish community. This 'ordinariness' is one of the great draw cards of Behind Blue Eyes. As the first of a series, Ellie's character is relatable with a lot of room to grow. She is realistic, reasonable, and level-headed.

As far as murder mysteries go, Behind Blue Eyes is a reasonably unique entry to the genre. The novel is a great combination of 'The Journalist Detective" and Scandinavian Crime. Duffy has imbued her novel with both the crisp and suspenseful atmosphere of the Swedish Crime novel and the sly and smart characters Journalist Detective stories.

If you're after a chilling mystery where everybody's a suspect, Duffy's Behind Blue Eyes is the book you better pick up.

3.8Overall Score

A British journalist moves to Sweden to live with her new boyfriend. While at a party on a private island, she discovers a decomposing body. Her boyfriend and his friends are hiding something - ...

  • Plot
    4
  • Characters
    4
  • Theme
    3.5
  • Structure
    3.5
  • Dialogue
    3.5
  • Pacing
    3.5
  • Settings
    4.5
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