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Land of the Blind (Caroline Mabry #2)

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  853 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
In Land of the Blind, Jess Walter, National Book Award finalist and author of Citizen Vince and The Zero, explores the bonds and compromises we make as children—and the fatal errors we can make at any time in our lives. Fiendishly clever and darkly funny, Land of the Blind follows Caroline Mabry, a weary police detective racing against the clock to investigate both a murde ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 18th 2009 by Harper Perennial (first published 2003)
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Apr 11, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s a goal of mine to scare up votes for Jess Walter’s induction into the Pantheon of Great American Storytellers. Land of the Blind justifies his nomination. [Citizen Vince (see review) does even more so.] He’s never slow, he adds insights without overdoing it, his dialogue is bang on, and his plots keep Kindle screens refreshing incessantly. I like his style, too – kind of edgy, but with a genuine regard for his characters. If you were to shoehorn this one into a category, I guess it would be ...more
Tom Tabasco
Sep 16, 2015 Tom Tabasco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Jess Walter, as I said in other reviews I believe he is a notch above most other contemporary writers. Here is a great comment about "Land of the Blind" by the author himself:

"I wanted to write a darkly comic and suspenseful coming-of-age crime novel about politics, philosophy, the tech bubble, and the way people drag their teenage selves through the rest of our lives. And like a beginning juggler who has tentatively tossed an apple, a chainsaw, and two bowling pins in the air, and is no
Jul 19, 2013 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Land of the Blind was not a fun read. Clark, the main character reveals in tortuous detail his adolescence . Walter's characters always seem to come from the seamy side of Spokane. He writes with so much pathos and detail, it can't all be imagined pain.
Clark begins this novel confessing to crimes, real and unnamed. He suffers as he unloads the pain of success , failure, loyalty, treason, love and detachment. His patch does not blind him. It only gives a lack of depth perception.
As I said, this w
Eric Hammel
Nov 03, 2012 Eric Hammel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I write books for a living. I edit books. I publish books. I =live= books. But I rarely find myself impressed by books.

I'm impressed enough with Jess Walter to read his books. Now I find myself impressed enough with Land of the Blind to get off my jaded butt to recommend it to anyone who was ever teased in school, or bullied, or humiliated, or moved by the fear of any of the above to act against his better nature.

This is a book written in pain; it is painful to read, painful to relive personal m
aPriL does feral sometimes
The book is tough going in the first half because the subject is bullying and it is harsh to read.

Eli is an extremely bullied kid because he has everything wrong with him that can be wrong with someone and yet be fit enough for public school mainstreaming while still needing two special-ed classes as well - he smells, he wears ugly glasses, he's both physically and mentally handicapped, and he lives in a spiritless deadened large town. Clark, one of the narrators, is also bullied, but not as ba
Rick (from Another Book Blog)
Jul 04, 2011 Rick (from Another Book Blog) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of A Prayer For Owen Meany
In Land of the Blind, Jess Walter has written a dolorous thriller about a man who wants police detective Caroline Mabry to witness his confession to a crime that has yet to be reported. With legal paper in hand, Clark Mason proceeds to write a long story of a childhood friendship gone horribly wrong—a "story of weakness, not of strength"—one in which he alternately befriends and betrays oddball Eli Boyle.

Years later, Eli agrees to let Clark turn his recreational, hobby-like fantasy game, Empire
Scotty Cameron
Sep 15, 2012 Scotty Cameron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jess Walter does it again. I know this was written well before The Financial Lives of the Poets, but I read them out of order. But this, like Financial Lives, is a book that I must recommend.

This book tells the life story of Clark Anthony Mason, an aspiring politician, hack-job lawyer, people pleaser, and identity-challenged individual. Clark goes to the police, namely Caroline Mabry, wanting to confess. He doesn't know how to go about it. Finally, he decides on confessing to murder through a lo
Jun 28, 2013 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most sequels are similar in style to their predecessor, but Land of the Blind is stylistically very different from Over Tumbled Graves. I don't know if Walter's book deal at that point was dependent on this second novel being a sequel, but it seems to me that's not what he wanted to write and the novel suffers a bit from stretching to be a detective mystery involving Caroline Mabry.

I really liked Caroline in OTG, where she was a central figure. Here she's just hanging on to the periphery of the
Patrick McCoy
Land Of The Blind has some interesting aspects to it, but it is not as satisfying as Jess Walter's debut, Over Tumbled Graves or his subsequent novel, Citizen Vince. A lot of the premise was too on the nose-too obviously taken from the headlines: dot com bubble frauds, local political races. Other aspects were too over the top, Clark becoming a millionaire and the utter helplessness and afflictions of Eli. It has the makings of a compelling mystery, but the execution seemed somewhat marred by in ...more
Jan 20, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite by Mr. Walter, but an excellent read none-the-less. This is a follow-up to his novel Over Tumbled Graves and as different from that one as night is to day. Basically they both share a main character; otherwise the tale and the way it's told are nothing alike.
Spokane is once again a focus. It reminds me sometimes of the area in which I grew up near Beaumont, Texas. Another mid-sized town in a 50 year recession, full of hopeless optimism and a never-ending supply of excuses for fai
Aug 13, 2014 Lorraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a serendipitous manner, “Land of the Blind” landed in my purview, and I’m glad it did. It is considered a mystery or detective story, but it is actually a first-rate novel. Since I have been exposed to Jess Walter, I plan to read his 2012 novel “Beautiful Ruins,” which Maureen Corrigan (NPR) called a “literary miracle.”

I love women detectives and Caroline Mabry, a single 37-year old, was the perfect choice. She has been demoted to the swig shift in a Spokane police station where drunks and d
Feb 18, 2016 Denny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jess Walter has accomplished something rare with Land of the Blind. He has followed up his stellar debut detective novel, Over Tumbled Graves with an equally stellar sequel told in an entirely different way. While OTG was a straightforward, 3rd-person omniscient literary thriller with loads of hardcore detective work and all the other conventions of the genre, LotB was more of an epistolary novel, telling the story of the crimes, committed or only conceived, through a series of handwritten confe ...more
Òphiere editoriale
Un giallo con la "S" maiuscola.

Le colpe di una vita imperfetta, la vigliaccheria sopratutto e la cecità ai bisogno degli altri: killer anonimi per un mystery che voglia dirsi tale. Eppure Jess Walter riesce ad dar loro corpo con ritmo e una suspence che porta a divorare pagine più velocemente di quanto non accada leggendo molti action thriller. Un romanzo per amanti del "giallo che incatena" ma anche per i lettori che cercano il noir macerato/macerante. E poi che scrittura! Questo Jess Walter è
I read this for fun in college several years ago (yay opl new books section)and still remember being utterly refreshed by the originality of the work. One of those I just happened to pick up on my own, which reminds me that I should do that more often! Still my favorite of his books, especially the last third of it where it all gets weird and the tension is so intricately built.
Aug 24, 2010 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jess Walter is a great storyteller but I really couldn't like any of the characters. Clark, the main character, just wasn't likeable. The book did get more interesting as it progressed and so I finished it to find out what really happened, but I'm left with a blah feeling at the end.
Aug 27, 2015 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish 6 stars existed for this book. GRIPPING start to finish
K. Conner
Jan 17, 2013 K. Conner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the beautifully constructed story of a man confessing to a wasted life, at times hilarious, at times wrenching.
Something about this book grabs you and keeps you reading. It's a mystery, it's a coming-of-age drama, it's...maybe a love story? There are many elements that work well--for example, stories of growing up poor, bullying to avoid being bullied, working so hard to leave your home behind that you don't even notice where you're going--all of these are real, familiar and written well enough to ring true.

But then, there are the sillier parts. Like the strange case of a potential criminal calmly writin
Mar 06, 2017 Brady rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An inventive story with plenty of twists and turns, this book was a quick read. It had complexity and unique characters. I haven't read the first book that introduces the heroine, so I didn't have much background on her, but she's well developed in this effort. Also a cameo (well, a little more than a cameo) from the detective from Citizen Vince. I'd probably give this somewhere between 3 and 4 stars, but I'll round up in this instance.
Apr 29, 2014 Dawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Land of the Blind, by Jess Walter, is a genre-bending literary mystery novel that subverts the trope that mystery novels must always start with the discovery of a body. Instead, the self-proclaimed murderer turns himself in to the police so that he can confess. The story follows Spokane police detective, Caroline Mabry, in her backwards search for the truth and the body to match Clark Mason’s guilt.

Clark begins his unconventional confession, asking Caroline to allow him to write it out in his o
I was so impressed by Jess Walter’s first book, Over Tumbled Graves, which I came across a couple weeks ago, but I quickly went to the local library to see if they had any other books by him and they had two. The first one was a major disappointment, or maybe I just wasn’t in the mood to appreciate its humor, but the other one turned out to be a sequel to Over Tumbled Graves, so I dropped everything else that I was reading to continue the story (which, in truth, had seemed to end in the air at t ...more
Jun 08, 2014 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a bag full of authorly surprises Jess Walter has--when I started reading his Spokane-set two-book Caroline Mabry police detective murder mysteries, I did not realize Walter wrote Beautiful Ruins, a book I only partially loved (the Pasquale story and the Italian hotel story!). Beautiful Ruins was inventive with linking this lost, hidden Italian hotel story with Hollywood and scenes and actors who moved in divergent universes over a good deal of time. So the tightly plotted mysteries were a s ...more
Oct 15, 2012 Seana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I'd read anything Jess Walter wrote. I'm even considering the true crime stuff, and that's not really my scene. This is an early work of Walter's, and though it's not quite up there with the amazing Citizen Vince, it certainly shows the promise that would be fulfilled in subsequent works.

One of the proofs for me that a writer is worth paying attention to is when they can tell you a story that you don't think you'll be interested in and suck you in anyway. I was drawn right in by the dete
Dec 28, 2013 Grace rated it liked it
I don't even know what to make of this book. It was sad and weird, and uncomfortable to read. On the other hand, it was a pretty amazing portrait of how a single man fell apart over a period of years, and (maybe?) his attempt to start putting himself back together. If one chooses to see it as a metaphor, the book is also about the fall (and movement to rise again?) of the "genuine" PNW, the tech boom, and the American economy. Quite a book, but not what I'd call an enjoyable read. It should prob ...more
Danielle McClellan
I just read this for a book group and was underwhelmed. One of my favorite books this summer was Walter's Beautiful Ruins, but this riff on the police procedural (less "who dunnit" and more "what exactly is it that he dun") did not quite grab me--or rather, it grabbed me but only in that mildly icky way that an intense television cop show grabs you and then leaves you deflated with no sense of a there there. It seemed predictably unpredictable, if that makes sense. I found the long first pages a ...more
Lynn Pribus
Rather disappointing for me and I'm a BIG Walter fan. Was also rereading BEAUTIFUL RUINS on CD with a great narrator. While BR is a 5 for me, LAND OF THE BLIND definitely did not have the pull of OVER TUMBLED GRAVES, the previous Caroline Mabry mystery which was also a 5 for me.

This one spent the majority of time in the twisted mind of the perp. At least he wasn't a serial killer. Much less time spent with Caroline although several characters from the first book were included.

There was an intere
Steven Drachman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Wilner
Jan 17, 2013 Paul Wilner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is by the author of "Beautiful Ruins,'' a more ambitious, "literary'' and better received book. I liked it very much - enjoyed the way he spun off the Taylor/Burton tale and made something new and worth reading out of it. But honestly, I liked this earlier piece better - maybe because of the bleak portraits of Spokane, and now close it seemed to the author's own use. Also because despite the nature of the story, there are sections that are very funny...the narrator, and Walter, actually see ...more
Chrystal Hays
Oct 16, 2014 Chrystal Hays rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's not often that I get to read novels in the order they were written, one after the other. In this case, I am so glad I did.

In his first novel, Jess Walter was picking around the edges of the crime genre, pushing the envelope. In this one, he goes further, making a cute little origami figure out of the envelope.

While it brings back characters from the first novel, it stands alone and inhabits its own It's gripping, sad, and funny enough to laugh at if you like the ironic and absur
Jan 08, 2013 Amy rated it liked it
I didn't like this one as much as the first Mabry book, but it has its' own merits. The 2 story-lines run parallel until they collide in the last part of the book, which powers the pace. Set in Spokane, again, it's a novel about growing up in a quickly changing atmosphere - during the time where Seattle was exploding as a tech center and Spokane was left behind as Seattle's conservative much younger sister.
The story concerns Clark, a guy found on the 12th floor of the deserted old Davenport hot
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Jess Walter is the author of five novels and one nonfiction book. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages and his essays, short fiction, criticism and journalism have been widely published, in Details, Playboy, Newsweek, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe among many others.

Walter also writes screenplays and was the co-author of Christopher Darden’s 1996 b
More about Jess Walter...

Other Books in the Series

Caroline Mabry (2 books)
  • Over Tumbled Graves (Caroline Mabry, #1)

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