The Eye That Never Sleeps

Fiction - Mystery - Historical
223 Pages
Reviewed on 07/15/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite

The Eye That Never Sleeps by Clifford Browder takes the reader to New York City in the 1870s. A fantastic, fast-moving city of movers and shakers that had within its streets plenty of odd couple relationships. Once such relationship is a friendship between a young detective and a young bank robber. Detective Sheldon Minick and bank robber Nicholas Hale call a truce to their cat and mouse game of cops and robbers and show one another the New York City they know, from the fanciest places in town to the dirtiest in the poorest areas. Once this truce is over, what will happen? Can friendship survive when one man breaks the law and the other is charged to uphold it?

There is something that has always been fascinating about the 19th century, especially in a big city like New York. It is a place that is full of hustle and bustle today, but to imagine it during this golden age when all the big names from the Industrial Revolution were at their zenith is amazing. Bringing all that glitter and soot together into the story of just two men from the big city is a fantastic idea. You feel the personal connection of following these characters, but you also get the bigger backdrop of New York City during this age.

This book is a delight to all the senses, and I felt like I could have been at any of the places these men went to as their story unfurls. At times you can almost hear the sound of 1870s New York ringing in your ears, or smell the factories or, worse, the docksides. Whether you are someone who likes a good detective style novel or a historical tale, you will love this book because you solidly get both. I won’t tell you how the story ends or what happens when the truce is up, but I will say you don’t want to miss this book.

Samantha Coville

New York in the 19th century is seen through the eyes of two vastly different men embroiled in the same case. One is the slick bank robber who not only steals money but steals hearts as well. He's the exciting life of the party, glitz and glamour type of guy. The other is the detective who has been tasked with solving the crime. He's the ordinary, unassuming, random guy next door type of man. But their unusual friendship together will take you through a tour of New York that covers everything from the upscale neighborhoods to grimy downtown. Clifford Browder's The Eye That Never Sleeps will have you entranced from page one.

Crime fiction is always a hit or a miss for me and The Eye That Never Sleeps was a big hit in my opinion. I believe it can be attributed to the fact that author Clifford Browder goes beyond the norms of crime fiction and not only gives us the excitement of a good crime, but also the endearing and slightly comical budding friendship between two polar opposites. Browder's writing style is fresh and full of good descriptive language that paints the backdrop of the story in fine detail. I picked up this book and then only put it down when I absolutely had to for a break, and even then it was begrudgingly. This is a unique read that draws you into a time, place, and people and doesn't let you go until the very end. A strong showing for Clifford Browder.

K.C. Finn

The Eye That Never Sleeps is a work of mysterious historical fiction penned by author Clifford Browder. In a detective novel set in the late nineteenth-century grime of New York City, we meet two central characters who live the polar opposite of one another’s lives. The glamorous and loose-living bank robber Nicholas Hale lives a life of excess and elegance amongst the glitz and glam, whilst the detective on his case, Sheldon Minick, combs the grimiest locales of the city to find his quarry. A quirky alliance allows them into one another’s worlds, changing them to the point where the detective becomes torn about turning the robber in, despite all his new ally has shown him of the world.

Stylish, compelling and filled with character, this was an excellent read from start to finish. Author Clifford Browder captures the highs and lows of historical New York City with a clear love for the place, repainting the grimy noir of slaughterhouses next to the glamour of the high life. The plot twists around the central friendship, slowly building and giving away its secrets as the relationship between Hale and Minick grows. Even as the conclusion looms, there’s a powerful sense of not wanting their time together to end: a rare quality in books these days. What results is a highly atmospheric and compelling narrative of lives lived and eyes opened. Overall, The Eye That Never Sleeps is certain to amaze and engage not just historical mystery fans, but anyone seeking an exciting new read.

Tiffany Ferrell

Mr. Sheldon Minick might not be the most interesting of men but he is one of the best detectives around in Clifford Browder’s The Eye That Never Sleeps. So when a series of serious bank robberies occur, he’s first on the case with theories of his own. Every moral fiber in his body tells him that the culprit is none other than his next-door neighbor Nick Hale. What if he isn’t though? As Minick starts taking an interest in Hale, the same goes the other way. The two begin a bond slash truce in which they show each other different sides of the city. A new lifestyle for each of them. When the bank is robbed for a third time though, something isn’t right. Maybe Hale isn’t the perpetrator of these notorious bank heists after all? From the depths of the poorest places in New York to the ritzy upper-class high life, the two form a friendship of sorts. Is Nick really the bank robber terrorizing the city, or has Sheldon Minick made a mistake? Surely not, but he’s playing a dangerous game all the same.

It’s been a really long time since I read a historical crime mystery that I liked! I’m a huge history lover and of course since the story is set in the Victorian era that only made it more appealing to me personally. Browder really created two characters that you could connect with and like. I actually loved Nick’s character even though most of the time you find yourself hating the obvious enemy or crook. Even in the end I still liked him. The chemistry created between the two main characters who were detective and thief was so well done that it kept me on my toes until the very last sentence. The Eye That Never Sleeps is a great midnight mystery to enjoy and I highly recommend it to all crime and mystery loving fans.

Caitlin Lyle Farley

A spate of robberies urges the president of the Bank of Trade to hire private investigator Sheldon Minick, ‘The Eye That Never Sleeps,’ to catch the safe-cracker responsible in Clifford Browder's The Eye That Never Sleeps. Minick finds his first clue while undercover at the annual ‘Thieves’ Ball’ in New York—a newcomer to New York’s criminal underworld called Slick Nick Prime, whose dapper airs, particular hobbies, and habits correlate to the profile of the safe-cracker. As Minick watches Nick through his web of informants, little does he realize that Nick is watching him too. An unlikely camaraderie forms between the two men, and when Nick offers a truce in exchange for the opportunity to introduce Minick to the glitz of the high life, Minick accepts. As these two men explore each other’s sides of the city, will Minick convince Nick to leave his life of crime behind, or will he be corrupted by Nick?

Browder draws an entertaining spectrum of opposite and complementary personality traits in Minick and Nick that makes their unusual and complex relationship entirely plausible. The sense of budding friendship intertwined with the tension of their necessary rivalry is absorbing as Minick and Nick venture into slums and fancy restaurants by turns. While historically accurate, the attitude of the day towards women and people of color on those occasions it enters the narrative might be jarring for today's reader. This includes Minick’s regard of his own wife. The Eye That Never Sleeps provides an intriguing character study as Nick and Minick play a cat and mouse game of unusual proportions, one in which the victor is impossible to guess until the end.