Kia ora (hi), I’m Craig Sisterson, a lapsed lawyer from New Zealand and now a London-based freelance journalist who interviews authors and reviews books for a range of magazines and newspapers across the world. Since 2009 I’ve also had a blog, Crime Watch, where I stick my beak into global crime writing, from a Kiwi perspective.
My Crime Summer Read choice is Trust No One by Paul Cleave (Mulholland Books).
This book is head-spinningly brilliant; a psychological thriller with the ultimate unreliable narrator that raises the bar in terms of quality crime writing, then leaps over it.
Cleave is one of those authors who’s been an international bestseller, translated into more than a dozen languages, won and been shortlisted for several crime writing awards in a few different countries, hoovers up critical acclaim, but hasn’t yet reached ‘brand name’ status.
If you like tense page-turners that also have great character depth, memorable action, and crackling prose with some sly, dark humour, then you want to add him to your must-read list.
Trust No One, released in the UK in July, is a great introduction to the dark brilliance of Cleave’s writing. His ninth thriller, it’s an award-winning, very clever and twisty, standalone.
Jerry Grey has killed lots of people. His readers think he’s just done it in his popular serial killer novels, penned under the name Henry Cutter. But Jerry knows the truth – he’s killed people off the page too. Or he thinks he has. He might have…
… you see, Jerry doesn’t really know. He’s been stricken with early onset Alzheimer’s. The cop he’s confessing too isn’t actually a cop, but his daughter. Visiting him in his care home.
The staff tell Jerry he’s confused, it’s just part of his disease. But then why are bodies turning up all over Christchurch, at times that Jerry has gone walkabout from his carers.
Have years writing about sadistic crimes spilled into real life thanks to Jerry’s misfiring brain?
Trust No One is a chilling, disturbing tale that delivers far beyond its fascinating hook.
Cleave takes us deep into the confusion, anger, and frustration that Jerry feels as he’s stricken by ‘the Big A’. Switching between Jerry’s confused contemporary thoughts and the ‘Madness Journal’ he started writing to himself once he got his diagnosis, Cleave has readers as doubting as Jerry. We feel for him, and we feel like him. There’s even a rare usage of second-person narration (along with first and third-person), among the switching perspectives, but Cleave marries the duelling perspectives and timeframes seamlessly.
Overall, this is top-notch, top-shelf thriller writing. A tense page-turner that you could enjoy on vacation, while also providing plenty of character depth; unique, distinctive, and brilliant.
Craig’s original review of Trust No One can be found here:
If you fancy buying a copy of Trust No One, check out this link: