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Blind Fall

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From three-time New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice -- whose novels have been called "bold and ambitious" by The New York Times, "chillingly perverse" by USA Today, and "shocking, sexy...intricate" by Glamour -- comes this startling psychological thriller about an Iraq War vet who seeks redemption and revenge when a fellow Marine he failed to protect during the war is brutally murdered.

John Houck became a Marine to become a hero. But his life changed when he failed to notice an explosive device that ended up maiming the captain of his Force Recon Company, a respected Marine who nearly sacrificed himself to save John's life.

Home from Iraq, John pays a visit to his former captain, only to discover the captain has been gruesomely murdered. John pursues a strange man he sees running from the scene, but he discovers that Alex Martin is not the murderer. Alex is, in fact, the former captain's secret male lover and the killer's intended next victim.

When it becomes clear that local law enforcement has direct connections to the murder itself, John realizes that to repay his debt of honor, he must teach Alex Martin how to protect himself, even if that means teaching Alex to kill. In the process, John confronts the painful truth about the younger brother he was unable to protect and the older sister he always felt he failed.

Blind Fall is a story of honor and integrity, of turning failure into victory. It is a stunning departure for Christopher Rice: the story of two men, one a Marine, one gay, who must unite to avenge the death of the man they both loved -- one as a brother-in-arms, one as a lover -- and to survive.

289 pages, Paperback

First published March 11, 2008

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About the author

Christopher Rice

37 books2,444 followers
Christopher Rice is the recipient of the Lambda Literary Award and is the Amazon Charts and New York Times bestselling author of A Density of Souls; Bone Music, Blood Echo, and Blood Victory in the Burning Girl series; and Bram Stoker Award finalists The Heavens Rise and The Vines. An executive producer for television, Christopher also penned the novels Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra and Ramses The Damned: The Reign of Osiri with his late mother Anne Rice. Together with his best friend and producing partner, New York Times bestselling novelist Eric Shaw Quinn, Christopher runs the production company Dinner Partners. Among other projects, they produce the podcast and video network TDPS, which can be found at www.TheDinnerPartyShow.com. He lives in West Hollywood, California, and writes tales of romance between men under the pseudonym C. Travis Rice. Visit him at www.christopherricebooks.com.

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5 stars
519 (26%)
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641 (32%)
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550 (27%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 157 reviews
Profile Image for Jason Bradley.
690 reviews308 followers
July 8, 2009
While his mother, Anne Rice, is a master of imagination, I believe Christopher beats her out, hands down, with his talent for story-telling. His writing is flawless and much better than his famous mother, in my opinion. In fact, he is so talented that he is able to take a subject that I have little interest in, war, and still have me hooked and reeled in before the end of the first chapter. His descriptive skills and technique pull a reader into the story until they are invested fully in the characters and immersed in their struggles.

I admit that my first taste of his writing was simply because of his relation to an author which I admire. Yet, unlike his mother, Christopher bases his stories in reality and I found myself impressed and eager to read more.

I cannot recommend this book or this author highly enough. The story is stark and complex, leaving each person with a character to which they can relate. His understanding of human nature and emotion draws you into the scenes as they unfold, leaving you eager to turn each page and hungry for more when the end arrives.

Profile Image for LenaRibka.
1,436 reviews418 followers
December 30, 2018

3,5 stars

Maybe I am a bit tooo critical to Mr. Rice. I like his writing style A LOT. I think I have some problems with his characters. I'd like either to ADORE the MCs of a book I rate with 5 stars or hate them with all my heart. It is my second book by the author and I am still waiting for a character who makes me FEEL. I don't know why, but his characters just leave me indifferent. The writing is good, the story is interesting, the characters are...not memorable.
459 reviews22 followers
March 2, 2021
I approached this novel with a certain apprehension. I had read two of Christopher Rice's earlier novels ('A Density of Souls' and 'Light of Day') and didn't particularly like either. But with my penchant for reading a lot of gay themed fiction, I persevered with this one and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was.

The plot was interesting and by the end, the "hero" John Houck had been carefully and cleverly transformed from an intolerant homophobe to a much nicer dude.

All the little subplots in this book all worked well and fitted into a very satisfying and believable conclusion. Glad I gave Mr. Rice another go!
Profile Image for Anthony.
Author 10 books52 followers
December 20, 2013
It's been quite a while since I've picked up a Christopher Rice novel. Not for lack of interest -- I buy each book as it is released but then somehow they sit on the shelf. So I added Blind Fall to my 2013 "To Be Read Challenge" list. I enjoyed the book, but not as much as A Density of Souls or The Snow Garden.

I hate to pigeon-hole any author; I applaud every author who moves out of the genre they've been categorized in. But I have to say, I enjoyed Rice's first two books, which were firmly rooted in the "modern gothic" genre, far more than I enjoyed Blind Fall. I think my problem with Blind Fall is that while it's a ripping good adventure yarn with tense chase and fight scenes, I didn't emotionally connect with any of the characters. I wanted to feel for John Houck as he navigates his guilt over the injury of his superior officer and over the suicide of his younger brother; I wanted to become emotionally invested in his inner journey through the discovery of his now-dead superior officer's homosexuality and the way in which he comes to see Alex Martin as more than just a mission. I just never quite felt any of that as I made my way through the book.

What I did enjoy, as I said above, is the way the mysteries of Mike's death and John's brother's suicide unfold together and the way Rice stages the fight and chase scenes throughout the book. The moment I truly felt John's pain was when he was in physical pain after a particularly unexpected beat-down. Those scenes, which start with John's failure in Iraq and move to a tense stand-off in a police station, take some unexpected turns that kept me invested in the novel even when I wasn't invested in the characters.
Profile Image for Michele.
Author 7 books22 followers
July 12, 2017
Blind Fall is the first Christopher Rice novel that I have read. I have seen his novels in the past, but having heard the news that he and his mother, Anne, were writing the sequel to "The Mummy," I wanted to experience Christopher Rice's writing style. I picked up this book and another one of his, but given this was more recent, I decided to start with this one.

The pacing of the story started out slow, but had the feeling of the threads being methodically placed for the rest of the plot. The story beats do pick up and most of the story clips along at a fast pace. One of the facets that I enjoyed with Blind Fall and that is the way that Rice constructed the thriller aspect of the story. When Rice lays down all of the parts, I felt the plot came together well. It was not convoluted or forced.

The characters were interesting, but I did find myself thinking about the dialogue and actions the main characters took. That said, I did think that Rice had a few profound moments during John's monologues. I think the overarching genre though made up for my concerns. And, I will definitely read the other Rice novel I picked up.
Profile Image for Shane.
296 reviews
January 8, 2013
Ridiculous and ludicrous story, unconvincing characters and severely lacking in suspense or dramatic tension, and yet I couldn't stop turning the pages even though I didn't really feel invested in the characters, and found the plot sloppy and contrived.

Anywho, this is a sort of redemption thriller about a Marine who lets his Marine buddy down, and what might set this apart from the usual thriller or redemption tales is how it is issue-driven; in this case the heterosexual main character has to DEAL WITH HIS FEEEEEEEEEEELINGS REGARDING HOMOSEXUALALITY. As you probably can tell by how I wrote that last sentence, it came off as ham-fisted and overwrought, kinda like one of those television programs that DEAL WITH A VERY SPECIAL ISSUE.

OK, so we know early on whodunnit, but we don't get to know why 'twas done until near the end, which I guess is an attempt to build tension and interest. Now then, I literally finished reading this book last night/early this morning and I can't recall the 'why' of what was done, although I remember that this was one of the more ludicrous and eye-rolling twists in a book that is built on such stuff.

Yet as I said, this is a page-turner, and easily one of the most page-turning books I've read in a long time. I'd compare it to other thrillers such as Lee Child's Jack Reacher series, although I think Mr. Childs Jack Reacher is a slightly more compelling and interesting character than any of the creatures found in the pages of this effort. Also, I recall thinking that Mr. Rice has a way with words in some parts of this book, although the dialogue is another story, morning glory.
Profile Image for Chris.
223 reviews
May 29, 2019
As a crime novel, this had all the hallmarks required of the genre; suspense, twists, and who-dun-it and why; however the real twists in the plot, and the take home messages of the book come from the broader storyline, the backgrounds and the all too human interactions of the characters. Though the revelation that this was a noir crime from the author added to some of the visual imagery for me, and added reputation to the author for screen play in the visual medias of film and television that are every so commercially lucrative for the Californian writer.
This would make for a great movie.
The significant research taken was evident, even if the author did not point this out himself in the acknowledgements at the end; some of which a truly intrigued reader can explore further that may contribute to a greater contextual familiarity, but is not essential for an enjoyment and understanding of this book. The author's strong connection to the themes of the US Defence force, especially the ethos of the Marines and the Californian setting of the book were striking for a non-American reader.
Again this author specialises in his personal understanding of the existence of gay people in all walks of life without turning his work into an anthem. Representation is ever so refreshing; to see characters where their sexuality, while being important to the context, is not the be-all and end-all of the plot.
Profile Image for Anthony Willis.
148 reviews
April 8, 2015
Christopher Rice's books tend to be hit or almost-miss with me (I've yet to read one that I just don't like altogether). They're either really, really good - or they're just ok. This one for me, was a hit.

It tells the story of war veteran John Houck, who made a near fatal mistake that almost cost his fellow Marine and Captain, Mike Bowers, his life during battle. Years later, while seeking redemption, he discovers that Mike has been brutally murdered, and finds someone fleeing the scene. He quickly learns however, that the man running is not Mike's killer, but his lover. (And taking this straight from the book's jacket because I love the description) "John and Alex must unite to avenge the death of the man they both loved - one as a lover, one as a brother-in-arms - if they want to survive themselves."

I loved the pace at which the story revealed itself. Things were constantly unfolding so that there weren't any moments that felt too stagnant. The relationship between John and Alex felt complex, with both of them gaining an understanding and letting down personal guards throughout the book.

Pick this one up!
Profile Image for Matthew.
52 reviews8 followers
November 21, 2014
Much like Christopher Rice's previous books, "Blind Fall" does not disappoint. Good story and characters-though they are not as developed as Rice's previous work(the only thing that kept me from rating it a 5). For me, the strong point was the story-line and narrative. I don't put spoilers in my reviews, though what I will say is that Rice has become more of a definitive author:

He knows his story. He hooks you in from the start. Then he's got you and you're along for the ride. Just when you think you know where the story is headed, then comes the twist or twists in the final 3rd of the novel. From a reader/fan's prospective, those are all great quality's to have in writing fiction-especially horror/suspense/psychological horror/suspense. Plus, as an openly gay author, Rice does include men having sex in his novels. Mostly, it's done with taste. When it's not, the sexual parts of Rice's novels, "Blind Fall" included, only ADD to the narrative and story. They do not distract the reader from it. I certainly wasn't...right up to the very last page.
Profile Image for Beth.
143 reviews21 followers
October 21, 2008
I've read all of Christopher Rice's novels and this one is by far the worst. While most of his books typically have a good plotline (with flat-footed writing), this book had both flat-footed writing AND an unbelieveable and overwrought plot line.

So, basically, these are the elements of the story: gay Marines, straight Marines, a suicide, a missing eye, a murder, flashbacks, more flashbacks, an AA encampment owned by a former domestic abuser, mistaken identity, a severed hand, and LOTS and LOTS of descriptions of the landscape of California.

Yeah, it was a quick read (two evenings) and yeah, it didn't tax my brain too hard, but at some points it was just too bad to continue and I felt like giving up. I actually plowed through, though, simply because I wanted to give the book a chance to improve. No such luck.

If you must read Christopher Rice's work, pick a different one of his novels.
314 reviews3 followers
February 9, 2017
I HATED THIS BOOK. The only way this book could have been good would have been if the lead character threw himself off a building in the first chapter and then the book restarted with a whole new writer, plot and characters.
Profile Image for Kevin.
4 reviews1 follower
August 20, 2008
In true Christopher Rice fashion, it's started out kind of slow but it sure pick up the pace about half way through. The story is about two soldiers home from Irag, one gay one straight, who has a hard time dealing with his captain because he feels it was his fault that he was injured during a routine tour of Iraq. He finally decides to find the captain and tell him that he's sorry for missing the pipe bomber but when he arrives at his home finds that there has been a murder committed. The obvious suspect is his secret, homosexual lover but the two come together as friends as the pieces of the puzzle come together.

No great story or romance but a fun summer read. Probably the best of young Christopher Rice's novels. His mother, by the way, is the famous Anne Rice of the vampire tales!
Profile Image for Vince Liaguno.
Author 14 books62 followers
August 28, 2010
The past’s collision with the present casts lingering shadows on the future in Christopher Rice’s latest thriller, Blind Fall. In a bold departure only hinted at in his previous novel Light Before Day (2005), Rice takes on the military and a straight protagonist in this breakneck-paced psychological thriller. Blind Fall tells a classic military-themed story of redemption and revenge against the contemporary backdrop of the Iraq War and its aftermath on the brave soldiers who serve – all wrapped up in the intricately layered narrative style for which Rice first garnered both fans and critical notice with A Density of Souls (2000) and The Snow Garden (2001).

Read the rest of the review here.

Profile Image for Michael.
62 reviews2 followers
March 9, 2013
Great main characters. John's complex life experiences and how he tries to handle them continue to unfold as the book progresses. While Mike is hardly alive (dies in the first 50 pages), his character both hangs over the story and is the catalyst for much of the characters' growth. Alex is a great, complex, innocent, guilty, exasperating and fuller human as the story progresses. Christopher Rice also answers some questions at the end of the paperback version, which added some depth to my reading experience. He spent time with Marines doing research (and also mentions having been romantically involved with several Marines ;) to make the stories more intricate. He also talks about how he really felt this was a novel about John and how that impacted the book (particularly the ending). A really good read!
Profile Image for Balthazar Lawson.
642 reviews6 followers
April 1, 2011
I wanted to enjoy this book but just couldn't get into it. There is a good story here, however, it is badly written and that is the biggest fault with this book. The writing style did not flow and was so badly structured as to be distracting.

He threw open the front door as if he was about to confront a band of insurgents, as if something about the room might have shifted and given up evidence of Alex's intention in the few minutes he had been gone. His sister had to say his name several times in a row before he could feel his feet again.

This is a paragraph that just doesn't make sense and is just one of many through out the book. It makes the book seem more like a first novel from a new author.

Profile Image for Mira.
154 reviews19 followers
September 7, 2015
I can't find the words to express how much I loved this book! It was thrilling, heartbreaking, yet it offered closure to the characters as well as the readers. I loved how John's growth was depicted. The man you meet in the last scene is hardly the guilt-torn one we encounter at the beginning.
Rice has a way of drawing characters that makes you deeply attached to them, such as Mike; he only appears in 2 scenes and yet, his presence is so large that you never forget him throughout the book, not even for a second, and one can't help but respect and love him. I know I did.
Blind Fall was a very quick read, I finished it in a couple of sittings and it was such a page turner and I would recommend it to anyone.
Profile Image for Rhonda.
199 reviews
March 28, 2008
I thought this was Chris Rice's best book to date. It's quite a change from his others, but it captivated me just the same. Must have been the metaphor-rich prose that reminds me a lot of his mother's writing.

John Houck is a very intriguing protagonist & his growth over the course of the book really touched me, no more so than in the last few pages. Makes me hopeful, even if it is fiction.
Profile Image for Steve.
150 reviews8 followers
February 21, 2008
I've loved all of his books. I put down everything else I was reading when I got the Advanced Reader Copy so I could spend time with his characters again. It was definitely worth the wait because this book is as good as his others, though I am still partial to Density of Souls and Snow Garden.
Profile Image for Barbara Elsborg.
Author 88 books1,639 followers
March 17, 2013
I enjoyed it. Damaged characters were well drawn. The pace didn't flag. I hadn't seen the plot twist coming and I read it in one sitting.
Profile Image for Tom.
299 reviews12 followers
March 2, 2015
3 1/2. Decent writting but I wasn't engaged with the characters enough to full care about them. I will read more of his, maybe something spooky.
Profile Image for Eden Thompson.
605 reviews5 followers
May 28, 2019
From my book blog www.JetBlackDragonfly.blogspot.com
Christopher Rice is the son of author Ann Rice, and his first book A Density of Souls (2000) was a bestselling hit. I didn't like it.
I also tried his second book Snow Garden and didn't like that either. So, why am I reading his latest novel, Blind Fall? I thought the premise was good, and I was going to give him another try.
I didn't like it.

When I read the synopsis on the back I thought it was about a Marine who finds his gay lover killed and investigates the murder. It's actually about a Marine named John Houck who is saved from a bomb blast by Mike Bowers, a member of his team in Iraq. Back in the States, he looks him up to thank him, and the night when he drops by his cottage in the country, he finds Mike murdered in bed. Mike's young gay lover Alex is there as well, and when the police begin investigating, they are both suspect and must go on the run. John is shocked that his friend, a Marine no less, would be gay and has a hard time when they check out the bar scene in West Hollywood. He is admittedly a trailer trash homophobe who can't get past his idea of faggots. The idea makes him sick, like what they do isn't even human. He barely makes it out of the gay bar where pressed lipped prissy queens call each other 'girlfriend', perverts in g-strings grope you and queers get beaten by gangs. So John takes Alex away to a remote camp in Arizona where he will teach him to fight, shoot, and defend himself like a man.

At this point it was like a New York cop movie from the 1970's. At that time, queers were portrayed as abnormal and, if not the lowest level, a species unto themselves. That was the message I was told back in the day. Rice being a gay writer left me with a big question mark over my head. This novel has a good premise, but the continual homophobic reactions got tired very quickly.

Meanwhile, John has a plan to draw the real killer into the light. Confess to the murder. Yes. Admit he did it in a jealous rage because he wanted Mike for himself. This coming from the homophobe.
There are family revelations from John's sister, the only likeable character in the book, which lead to a bit of growth by then end. It's OK to have unlikeable characters but by this time I was tired of the jarring, ridiculous plot changes and John's unbelievable reactions, completely out of character for someone to do.

Rice lives in West Hollywood, and says he knows Marines, so maybe the gay scene there is different. I couldn't identify with any gay people in the book, and luckily don't know of anyone so ignorant and unaware as John was. Rice also writes for The Advocate magazine, but I found this a mis-plotted mess. I finished it, as I always do, but I really disliked Blind Fall. I won't be trying another.
Profile Image for Ximon.
137 reviews
August 25, 2022
This book really had a lot of turns and suspects that it kept me interested, even towards the end it had things I didn't expect.

We have the main character who has a pass, seems to not have his life straight and ends up finding the body of his old friend. We then get the shock that he is gay and has been living with someone. This flips his world upside-down.

Right away we find out who did it but we don't know why.

The connection Rice did were very clever, everything was linked and we saw the whole picture layer out in front of us.

The best part was seeing the main character evolve thru the book and learn about himself and it help him understand his pass and brother who pass away.

I'm glad that the two characters didn't end up together. I get tired of reading books that have a straight man suddenly go gay by the end of the book, it feels like it's done to create a fantasy, so I'm glad Rice did not do that. We do now see a friendship and a man who has evolve for the better but he still is who he is.
Profile Image for Zack Maki.
49 reviews
March 6, 2021
*4.5 Stars*

What I disliked:

*The homophobia in this book felt forced at times which was a bit disappointing to me. Given how well the other parts of the book flowed for me. I wish maybe he had taken a bit more time to work some of those moments out a little bit better.

What I liked:

*The pacing of the story worked well for me! Because of this the book became a quick read for me as I didn’t want to put it down!
*I enjoyed the entire cast of characters which is a rare thing for me. I felt like the each character had its place and they didn’t feel like any of them where to fill up some space on a page. Overall though John has to be my favorite character throughout the story.
*There is one scene towards the end of the book that caught me completely off guard and I wasn’t expecting it! Once you get to that point you’ll see what I mean!

It was a great read and I recommend picking it up!
Profile Image for Leigh Hall.
Author 11 books314 followers
February 26, 2020
Blind Fall
I fell into this blind (hardee har) when I decided to absorb Christopher Rice’s collection I just grabbed one and got started. Having no idea what I’m going into is my norm but I was a little surprised with this one.
Well written, decent character build up, interesting premise and enough details to paint a vague picture. However it was boring and I couldn’t stand Alex. I got why John was doing what he was doing but Alex was an annoying idiot and the whole first half of the book played out like a cat and mouse chase. Nice twist but everything just seemed to end up being big misunderstandings proving that everyone was acting before thinking and making assumptions without communicating. I’ll continue down my Christopher Rice journey but I wasn’t impressed with my first encounter.
Profile Image for Chloe Cuthbert.
Author 2 books6 followers
March 18, 2020
Excellent thriller

This is not Rice’s usual fare, but don’t let that stop you from reading it. It’s well written and will remind you not everything is as it seems.
John Houck has returned home from the Marine Corps a broken man. His brother in arms saved his life in Iraq and is now no longer returning his calls or letters. John never got to explain why he behaved as he did on their last mission, and he owes him an explanation.
When he arrives at his friend’s new home, the front door is wide open and his friend is tied to the bed with multiple stab wounds.
That’s not the only shock John gets that night.
Mike, his brother in arms has been harboring a secret. He’s gay.
With his lover left behind and John’s first suspect, John is now on the run to prove who killed his brother in arms, and learn for himself the true meaning of brotherhood.
Profile Image for Claudia.
2,794 reviews36 followers
February 28, 2021
Okay, this book was fantastic.

It's very complex and with characters whose motivations are hard to grasp and yet that doesn't make it difficult to follow. The main idea seems simple, at first: John Houck wants to redeem what he sees as his worst mistake and to do that, he needs to face his former comrade and tell him why he was distracted that day.

But nothing goes the way he had expected and from then on the story pick-ups its pace and it becomes hard to stop.

The characters are really interesting, and when we finally have all the threads coming together there is a sense of real satisfaction from a tale very well told.

I'll be listening to another story by this author ASAP.

Oh, and I really liked Frederick Weller's narration.
Profile Image for Jeff.
Author 2 books10 followers
March 12, 2021
Well-written, really enjoyable mystery, but it's about so much more. What got me more than anything- was the beautiful characters- so well-developed and engaging. I wanted so much more. Since his debut novel, Christopher Rice has continued to be one of my favorite authors. His view is unique and often arresting. Rice always tells stories that are full of rich, bountiful discoveries about life, and most often about self. Yes, it would have been nice to have more of Mike's character, but he lives, for us through John and Alex. That, may have given us more of Mike than we could have gotten had Mike's character been more physically prominent in the book. This way, he was with us on nearly every page.
Profile Image for Denise.
6,597 reviews109 followers
March 29, 2019
In a new record of "How backed up is my TBR?": I added this book to it in February 2011. So when I say it was about time I got around to reading it, I'm definitely not kidding.
Blind Fall starts out as a murder mystery, but it's really more about character development than about the whodunnit part (which is solved fairly early on, to be followed by the revelation of the motive only far later). It's an intense, gripping read, though I can't say it's a particularly enjoyable one as John's head, in which we spend most of the duration of the book, is a rather unpleasant place to be most of the time.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 157 reviews

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