Good news doesn't come at 4 a.m. For Ariel Gold, proof of that was in the call that woke her in the predawn stillness of a warm Los Angeles night. Her friend and spiritual guide Laya, a woman devoted to the quiet harmony and inner balance of yoga, was suddenly blinded when someone replaced her eye drops with hydrofluoric acid, causing possibly irreversible chemical burns. Max Neely, Ariel's LAPD detective pal, thinks it's a tragic case of product tampering, with Laya an unlucky victim of chance. But Ariel's not so sure...
Just over a year before, Ariel awoke to find she didn't know her own face in the mirror. Battered and alone, unable to recall where or even who she was, she began a desperate race to overcome the blind spots of her own shattered memory, bluffing her way through a life made suddenly foreign. Even today, only a few close friends know her secret, and huge blocks of darkness remain where her past used to be. Now, with Laya's world unexpectedly and traumatically changed in an instant, Ariel is compelled to take action, to get to the bottom of the "bad luck" that has scarred her friend.
As a producer and on-air journalist for the investigative newsmagazine Open File, Ariel can't relegate the mysteries of Laya's assault to the police. With the help of her grandfather, a sharp and spunky sptuagenarian mulitmillionaire, Ariel begins her own search for the truth. But when she receives a troubling letter from a woman she cannot recall, Ariel must decide if it is merely a mysterious message from an unremembered friendor a masked warning. For Ariel, taking a chance on nailing a shrewd attacker will be like shooting in the dark.
|Product dimensions:||6.80(w) x 4.22(h) x 1.12(d)|
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Good news doesn't come at four in the morning.
For those unlucky enough to lie wakeful, that silent predawn black is a lonesome place. Worries nibble at the mind. Old regrets come home to roost. As sleep eludes, just beyond grasp, every minute stretches. The clock ticks. Fears that would seem foolish by day take hold of the imagination, and grow.
It isn't the dead of night, 4:00 A.M., but it can, nonetheless, be deadly. Ask a nurse on the graveyard shift. Ask any priest. It is the hour, you'll learn, when the body's purchase on life is at its weakest, when those sapped by age or illness will often, finally, surrender.
It is an hour when the earth itself is unreliable. Predawn historically, quirkily, and inexplicably is favored by earthquakes.
And when the phone rings in the last, dark hours of the night, chances are it's bringing trouble.
It wasn't the phone that woke Ariel Gold at 4:06 A.M., and it wasn't the rumble of a quake. It was, in the first disoriented second, as shocking. She'd been deeply asleep. She'd gone to bed alone. She no longer was. Something cold bumped against her cheek. She jerked awake, still half mired in a nonsensical dream. The noise she heard then was a low, anxious murmur, so close it was like a moist breath on her face, so close it almost stopped her heart. That was when the phone rang.
Later, she questioned whether she could have the sequence of events right: that her dog nudged her awake before the phone actually rang. How was that possible? Did telephones emit some sound undetected by human ears in the split second before the ring? Was it coincidence? Or did animals have an early warning system for tragedy on the way? The time came when Ariel stopped questioning. Weirder things were entirely, provably possible. Whatever the big German shepherd may or may not have sensed, tragedy had already happened.
"Hello?" Ariel said, her voice hardly audible over Jessie's panting. She stroked the dog's neck, invisible in the dark, but warm, softly furred, and familiar. "Hello?" she asked louder. "Who is it?"
She heard the thwack! of a receiver being dropped, banging against something, and snapped on the bedside lamp, squinting against the brightness of the 100-watt bulb. This wasn't a wrong number; she was somehow sure of that. It wasn't a creep of the heavy breathing variety either, although Ariel could, faintly, hear the sound of someone breathing. The receiver was evidently retrieved, for the breathing grew loud. It was ragged, the desperate, greedy mouth-breathing of a woman in labor.
"Help me! Oh, God! Help me!"
The voice was a woman's. Thin. At the very edge of a scream. It took Ariel a second to place it. She'd never heard this particular woman sound anything but serene, even detached. "Laya?" she asked. "Is that you?"
Horribly, Ariel's friend had begun to moan. She's been attacked! Ariel thought. Raped. "What's happened?" she cried, but the moaning, a litany of pain, overrode her. "Hurts!" Ariel made out, and the words "Oh!" and "Please!"
"Stop it," she ordered, "and tell me what's happened."
Laya made a strangling sound and then swallowed noisily, more than once. It sounded as though she were forcing down stones. "I can't," she said. "I can't..."
"You can't what?"
"Don't you understand English?" The hysteria broke loose then. A flood. "I can't see! I can't see anything! I'm blind!"
Copyright © 2000 by Judy Mercer
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Judy Mercer has done it again! Blind Spot stars Ariel Gold, one of my favorite heroines, in yet another jam. It's a suspenseful, entertaining story, told with Mercer's special touch. Immensely enjoyable.
Thirty-six year old Los Angeles television correspondent Ariel Gold has no memories of her life beyond the last twelve months. Refusing to remain a victim, Ariel¿s amnesia is known to only a few people who she trusts. To the rest of the world, Ariel lives what seems to be a perfect life. When someone places acid inside the eye drops of her friend Laya, blinding the yoga instructor, Ariel takes the woman into her home to recover in peace. Laya believes she is a target because she witnessed a violent crime and could identify the culprit. She knows her life is in danger, and by taking her in, Ariel¿s existence is also threatened. Blessed with second sight, Laya expects the return of the perpetrator who blinded her. Ariel knows how accurate her friend¿s forecasting skill is and fully believes her. Ariel decides to protect her friend, an action that places her own life in danger. She stars investigating and stirring up secrets that someone will kill to keep hidden. Judy Mercer writes a very realistic thriller starring a scarred protagonist whose affliction will not magically disappear in the foreseeable future. Ariel¿s problem makes her a simultaneously stronger yet vulnerable person who still hopes to one day have her memory restored. The story line is filled with action, powerful characterizations, and a complex plot. BLIND SPOT is a fascinating, pulse-pounding thriller that appeals to a mainstream audience even though New Age readers will appreciate the paranormal elements. Harriet Klausner