Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Date Read: August 3, 2015
In the exciting new psychological thriller by the Edgar-nominated author of Joe Victim, a famous crime writer struggles to differentiate between his own reality and the frightening plot lines he's created for the page.
Jerry Grey is known to most of the world by his crime writing pseudonym, Henry Cutter-a name that has been keeping readers at the edge of their seats for more than a decade. Recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at the age of forty-nine, Jerry's crime writing days are coming to an end. His twelve books tell stories of brutal murders committed by bad men, of a world out of balance, of victims finding the darkest forms of justice. As his dementia begins to break down the wall between his life and the lives of the characters he has created, Jerry confesses his worst secret: The stories are real. He knows this because he committed the crimes. Those close to him, including the nurses at the care home where he now lives, insist that it is all in his head, that his memory is being toyed with and manipulated by his unfortunate disease. But if that were true, then why are so many bad things happening? Why are people dying?
Hailed by critics as a "masterful" (Publishers Weekly) writer who consistently offers "ferocious storytelling that makes you think and feel" (The Listener) and whose fiction evokes "Breaking Bad reworked by the Coen Brothers"(Kirkus Reviews), Paul Cleave takes us down a cleverly twisted path to determine the fine line between an author and his characters, between fact and fiction.
This book was very different than anything else that I have read. I know that there are other books out there that have characters with Alzheimer's Disease but I just have not read any of them yet. This was completely uncharted territory for me. A mystery thriller told from the point of view of an Alzheimer's patient was a unique twist that caught my interest. I just had to see this idea in its execution.
I have been lucky enough that I have not had any loved ones close to me affected by Alzheimer's Disease. I have been around a few more distant relatives dealing the the disease but my experience is very limited. I really cannot say how accurately the disease is represented in this book but it seemed to me that some sections would ring true while other parts were incredibly far fetched.
I think that the change in Jerry's personality seemed authentic and the most powerful aspect of the story. The change in the relationship between Jerry and his wife, Sandra, was heartbreaking. The change in roles from equal partner to caretaker would have to have a dramatic effect on the relationship which I think was well represented. Jerry's frustration with his limitations were so easy to empathize with.
I thought that a lot of the mystery in this book was far fetched. I am sorry but I just don't believe that Jerry would have been able to do some of the things that he does at the end of the story at his stage in the disease. I do understand that some days can be much better than others but it was just too much of a jump for me. Unfortunately, I also guessed one of the big twists pretty early on which really lessened my overall enjoyment of the story. The way that the story was told really made it easy to guess quite a few of the big moments.
I did find some humor in this story which I did enjoy. Each chapter in the book was told from more than one point in time which actually worked well. The sections from the journal showed the progression of the disease while the present day made it obvious that there was a lot that had changed. The overall mystery was not only what was happening to Jerry during the present day but also what happened during the time in between.
I would recommend this book to mystery readers looking for something different. I found it to be a very entertaining book even thought it was somewhat easy to set down. This was the first book by Paul Cleave that I have read and I would definitely read other works by this author in the future.
I received an advance reader edition of this book from Atria Book via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
About the Author
Paul Cleave is an internationally bestselling author who is currently dividing his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where all of his novels are set, and Europe, where none of his novels are set. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. He has won the Ngaio Marsh award for best crime novel in New Zealand, he won the Saint-Maur book festival's crime novel of the year in France, has been shortlisted for the Edgar Award and the Barry Award in the US, and shortlisted for the Ned Kelly award in Australia.
Paul is currently working on his new book. When he's not writing, he spends his time swearing on a golf course, getting tennis lessons, or adding to his list of countries where he's thrown his Frisbee (25 so far...).