Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Monday, September 28, 2015
TRUST NO ONE - Paul Cleave's impressive (and disturbing) psychological thriller
TRUST NO ONE 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?