An online marketing consultant, an avid reader of 400 + books a year. Professional reader, reviewer, and blogger. Enjoy ARCs and new releases.
By Paul Cleave
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: 8/4/2015
My Rating: 5 Stars
A special thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. As always, Atria delivers "winners!"
Christchurch, New Zealand, international bestseller crime author, Paul Cleave delivers TRUST NO ONE, a deliciously clever, witty, and wickedly evil psychological mystery suspense thriller-- when the horror of mental illness--Alzheimer’s, takes over a crime writer’s brain, blurring the lines between fact and fiction. A potent blend of suspense, paranoia, reality, and pure creepiness.
A haunting tale, which could almost be ripped from today’s headlines, where we read of older adults with dementia unwittingly committing crimes like theft or trespassing, sexual acts, losing blocks of time, or worse, more serious ones such as murder with no recollection of events. For a small number--it can be a first sign of their mental decline, as studies reveal.
While Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s can provoke a neural dysfunction that affects the patient’s behavior, leading to criminality—Cleave accelerates the complexity ten-fold, by adding a bestselling crime author and its characters, to the mix.
Henry Cutter (the cutting man) is the pseudonym for bestselling author, Jerry Grey, a successful crime writer. Grey’s twelve books have earned him much success, delivery murder mysteries for years satisfying readers and fans, worldwide.
Married for twenty-four years, Sandra, his wife, forty-eight years old—he can barely now remember, and a daughter, Eva which he recalls as ten years old, not the twenty something woman? They have a life. They have a future. He does not.
At the early age of forty-nine, the evil disease, the monster of Alzheimer’s has taken over his life. Doctor Goodstory gave him the news of the Big A, Captain A-- on the Big F (Friday). After all, dementia (Big D) is uncommon in persons under sixty-five. As he approaches age fifty, bad days are coming. Dark days are coming. Madness is approaching.
Some days Jerry is in control, and the next minute without any notice, he goes into dark mode; he has lost his car, his phone, his family, his thoughts, and his mind. Worst of all, he recalls killings; murders. Is he a killer, or is he thinking through the mind of his characters. What is real?
He now resides in an old nursing home and for some odd reason, he recalls Suzan with a “z” - always on his mind. How he felt when he killed her, back before he wrote about it. Why is his daughter acting strange? He goes back as he embraces the darkness. Who is Suzan?
Did he write thirteen books, an unlucky number? However, his thirteenth book is not a diary, but his Madness Journal. A journal for his future. Maybe one day there will be a pill to make the Big A go away. The Big A, a time bomb, tick, ticking . . . Will he will be able to look back through the pages to figure out what he missed. However, now there is a mystery to solve. The present. People are being murdered.
“The devil is in the details.” Back then the devil was him and those days, those details are hard to hang on to. His mind is wandering, it is continually doing that thing it does that he hates. “Dignity is only one of the things the Big A has taken away from him.” He is losing his marbles. Every author has a last book—however he had no clue it would be a stupid journal.His descent into madness!
“My name is Jerry Grey and it’s been five days since I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Hi Jerry. And it’s been two days since I last forgot something. Well done, Jerry.”
Flashing back from past to present, Jerry begins writing in his journal, he discovers creepy things. There was a gun. There are items hidden, possibly mementos from victims, money, the hiding place, a knife, the spray paint, and the items hidden in a floorboard? There is crazy Jerry mode and there are stages. Present, Past, and Future Jerry. Where is the journal now?
Stage one–denial, Stage two–anger, Stage three–bargaining, Stage four–grief? Acceptance–never!
Good news, if he cannot recall how his books go, he can read them if new. It would be great if he could tap in the dementia patient market—they buy his books, forget they’ve read them, and buy them again! The dementia has an awful way of rewriting your past. It is making stories from his novels feel like real life.“Write what you know. Fake the rest.”
Presently, there are new murders, and Jerry is always close by. How did he escape the nursing home? He cannot remember. Is he being set up? Made to look crazy, or is he crazy? Jerry or Henry, which one is the murderer? Or possibly neither one? Who can he trust?
Suspects: What about Nurse Hamilton from the nursing home, Hans, his best friend, who brings his gin, his wife, Sandra, his daughter, Eva; Rick his son-in-law-- the wedding, the video, the florist? The lawyer, Nicholas, the neighbor, Mrs. Smith, the orderly, or Terrace, the fan, want- to- be- writer who has purchased his old home? What happened to his house? Where is his wife? Did he kill her too? What happens when he escapes the nursing home? How does he escape? The sense he has killed somebody is too real. Whodunit? If he gets arrested, how will he use his crime-writing skills to figure out what happened?
Is he picking up his character’s dirty habits, from each of his novels, or his own evil thoughts, or actions? He has to solve this mystery. The universe is punishing him. For what? Did he happen to base his character on a live real person? Is he a convicted killer?
WOW what a ride! Cleave takes readers into the mind, fears, and darkness of his troubled confused character, Jerry—as his life unravels and spirals into a nightmare from hell. Brilliantly crafted, TRUST NO ONE is hilarious, maddening, and chilling. Unpredictable!
Even though I have read other books about Alzheimer’s, and other books about crime writers taking on identities of their characters; however, this is the first book I have read, which takes a real illness, Alzheimer’s— paired with a crime writer character, seamlessly creating a psychological horror world of madness, combining the two with a gripping day-by-day account from sanity to insanity, from past to present; Deliciously evil!
I was swooning when discovering award-winning Paul Cleave, last year after reading FIVE MINUTES ALONE, landing on my Top 30 Books for 2014 and Thriller Authors to Watch.
TRUST NO ONE is outstanding, another bestseller. Would make a fabulous movie (my prediction)… Now, the dilemma, please hurry and get all his back list on audio, (in English) as dying to read them all. I hear they are coming, so anxiously awaiting.
When I read this book back in April (holding off on review until closer to pub date), I had to tweet Cleave, about the difficulty of writing this complex book. It had to to be a total bear to write, getting into the mind of his complex character. Cleave pulls it off masterfully; with his ferocious storytelling of the highest order, with corkscrew twists and turns, holding your breath, as the evil secrets unfold. As I mentioned, to the author, if he ever gets the Big A, he can always be a standup comedian, proven he can handle the task. Please do not give up your day job, yet.
Psychological suspense, and crime mystery thriller fans will find this cleverly twisted tale difficult to put down, while laughing out loud for endless hours of entertainment. You will be left with a feeling of madness by the time you get to the twisted ending, sending you racing out the door to a medical specialist, to be tested for the lurking monster, Cleave calls the Big A.
TRUST NO ONE, has been added to my Top 30 Books for 2015!