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Maura Conlon-McIvor slinks through her memoir, She’s All Eyes, spying on her reticent FBI-agent father and the rest of her Irish-American clan in Vietnam-era California. In her Nancy Drew fantasies, the aspiring gumshoe goes to Washington to meet J. Edgar Hoover, who looks “like he has not had a dessert for twenty years.” Young Maura stakes out her neighborhood and cares for her brother, who has Down syndrome, all the while trying to decode her father’s heavy quietude. Though her mother insists that communication is the breath of life, her dad exudes a permanent silent treatment that has nothing to do with his top-secret duties. He’s shy, a bit humorless, perhaps depressed, but never mean. “Shyness can be mixed with sadness—and that is a very long story,” Maura’s mother reminds her. Maura and her father manage to communicate through baseball and weekend drives. A nun spurs her to study drama in high school, but she dreads switching from Catholic to public school, where she’s heard they slip drugs into the cafeteria condiments. Conlon-McIvor’s prose is laden with literary maneuvers, but her writing is more comfy than it is cloying. One can almost hear Angels games crackling on the radio, see her priest uncle sipping a double-cherry Manhattan without his white collar on, and feel a neighbor’s consoling voice “soft as steam” after tragedy touches the Conlons. Conlon-McIvor reads from her book at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 3040 M St. NW. Free. (202) 965-9880. (Melonyce McAfee)