Maddy's Reviews > Eyes of the Innocent

Eyes of the Innocent by Brad Parks
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Jan 30, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-reads
Read in January, 2012

PROTAGONIST: Carter Ross, investigative reporter
SETTING: Newark, NJ
SERIES: #3 of 2
RATING: 3.5

Carter Ross is an investigative reporter for the Newark Eagle-Examiner. Although he’s one of the best writers in the office, his assignments are often at the whim of the owner. When a major fire occurs in which two young boys are killed, he’s told to focus on writing about space heaters, although that appliance had no part in the situation. Accompanied by an attractive young intern he is mentoring, Lauren “Sweet Thang” McMillan, they interview the boys’ mother. The story she tells them wipes all thoughts of space heaters out of the picture. But that story turns out to be nowhere near the truth.

Their initial investigation into the fire turns into a search for a missing councilman and a review of mortgage practices in Newark. It turns out that Sweet Thang has a natural ability to make an interviewee feel comfortable enough to share their most intimate secrets. It was interesting to see the differences among the boys’ mother, her mother and her sister, each of whom represent a different strata of Newark society.

One of the major strengths of the first book in the series, FACES OF THE GONE, was the depiction of Newark. I didn’t get nearly as much of a sense of place in EYES. However, Parks does a good job in developing Carter Ross; his own background as a reporter enables him to write convincingly of what is involved in that career. Ross is a character who is easy to like; he has a self-deprecating sense of humor that lightens what could be the grim nature of the job. Some of the other characters weren’t quite as well portrayed. The paper’s editor, Tina Thompson, is desperate to become pregnant and has selected Carter as the impregnator—that thread really didn’t hold up too well for a second book. And to nickname a competent female reporter “Sweet Thang” seemed somehow demeaning to her and her talents, even if she was at times a bit of an airhead.

EYES OF THE INNOCENT is a solid sophomore effort. Although I preferred the first book, I did enjoy EYES quite a bit and am look forward to seeing where Parks will take Carter in the third book of the series, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR.

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