A hybrid of crime, western, and science fiction genres set in a tiny hardscrabble town in Texas where all inhabitants have had their memories erased, owing to the fact that in a past life they were either witnesses to, or perpetrators of, unspeakable crimes.
...a multi-layered hybrid of a novel strengthened by several different bloodlines ... In some ways The Blinds resembles M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village, with layers of mystery enfolding the town and its history that are only gradually revealed. Also like Shyamalan’s movie are the many rapid-fire and bizarre plot twists that come at the end. On a deeper level, The Blinds is a novel that asks interesting questions about how our memories make us who we are ... These philosophical questions are secondary, however, to the busy, action-filled plot. The Blinds is first and foremost a fun read, or really about half-a-dozen reads rolled together in one.
...a critique of our best-intentioned it-takes-a-village sentiments that’s both more realistic and more weaponized than similar treatments ... The premise of The Blinds is so intriguing that you don’t dwell too much on that erasing-memories business, even though it’s the most volatile material you can pick up at the Hubristic Tropes Store ... the implications of the concept get a little messy in the telling in the closing chapters ... But Sternbergh sells the basic point: We mess with our psyches at our peril, and one way we mess with our psyches is persuading ourselves that we’re just a few regulations away from maintaining order.
Sternbergh’s characters are intriguing, his plot is suspenseful and his outlook is endearingly dark ... For Sternbergh, just about all our minds are guilty and thus potentially fascinating, if not homicidal. Readers who share his dim view of humankind can embrace The Blinds as naughty fun, but it can also be viewed as a meditation on the ubiquity of evil. Read it and weep. Or laugh. Or both. Sternbergh is an original, grandly irreverent writer.