by Paul Cleave
Upstart Press - $34.99
Reviewed by Mark McGinn
Crime novel readers enjoy the detectives, the lawyers, the private sleuths, all invariably overcoming an antagonistic force. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t keep writing those stories, striving to tell them in unique ways, tweaking and dialing up tension with innovation. Sometimes evil wins, most times not. Some leave us with the main character in our heads long after we’ve finished the story. Jerry Grey, in TRUST NO ONE, is one of those characters.
Ngaio Marsh Award winner Paul Cleave’s latest novel is no ordinary crime story. It is a psychological thriller, as far away from something formulaic in the genre as it’s possible to be. And, in my view, also daring. This story doesn’t just show insight into what living with Alzheimer’s might be like. Cleave gives us Jerry Grey’s painfully frustrating life in all its horror – moments of lucidity followed by desperation. In his unique style, Cleave answers the question about what it’s like for someone in the grip of a disease that wipes the brain of the very thing that allows him a living – cognitive function.
Does it work? Big time! Not just because Cleave cleverly unfolds a thriller plot, constantly engaging the reader. In embracing a tough theme, he balances incredible empathy for the protagonist (and by implication, others with this disease) and he does so with the dry and dark humor ubiquitous across his other novels.
Cleave has said he struggled to come up with any title by the time he submitted his manuscript. In the end, TRUST NO ONE was suggested by publisher Atria (an imprint of Simon and Schuster), and when you read it you’ll agree it’s the right title for the story. Who can you trust when you can’t trust yourself?
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