*I received an advance copy of this book courtesy the publisher via NetGalley*
If you know me at all, you know I drool over a Paul Cleave book. I stalk Amazon right after his LAST book publishes to see when his NEXT book is coming out. I’m a die hard, devoted STAN, so this review/rating should come as NO SURPRISE to people who follow me, but just in case you’re new to Cleave or to me, let me make an effort at articulating my thoughts about this book.
WHAT? Wait…. I think…. Did that just… Okay hold on, I think I know….NOPE… OOOOOOOOH NO WAY!
It went something like that, over the course of a few hours. I read it mostly in one sitting, which I don’t do much of any more, given my short span of attention. However, like I LOVE my thriller writers, Paul moves you through the story from past to present, from journal to this-is-happening-now with lightning quickness and precision. I felt like I couldn’t afford to blink because things were happening fast, information was coming at me and every word was important.
The protagonist in this novel is an award winning, best selling crime writer Henry Cutter, who’s just been diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s, a disease. It is a disease that is a thief and an artist. It takes away the most important details and adds details that never existed. It produces paranoia, confusion, anger and turns life upside down… not particularly for the patient, who is mostly oblivious, but for the caretakers and those around them. It is the Alzheimer’s Diagnosis that is the enemy in this novel. Captain A, as Jerry calls it. Captain A is lurking and soon Captain A will cause him to become a drooling fool who doesn’t know where he is or where he is going. Captain A has ended his career for him.
As the dementia begins to twist Jerry’s writer’s brain, he finds it hard to determine what’s real and what’s fiction.
Who is Suzan (with a Z?) He’s been assured she never existed– Henry Cuttter made her up. But.. he remembers her murder. Because he committed it.
And where is Sandra, his wife? They say she is dead. And that Jerry killed her. But he doesn’t remember killing her. So that means he didn’t do it……..right?
This novel moves from entries in what Jerry calls his ‘Madness Journal’ and letters to Future Jerry to tell him what happened in the past, in case he can’t remember who he is; and actual Future Jerry, living life in the present, confined to a retirement home that he keeps curiously escaping but doesn’t remember HOW he escapes (and travels 20 miles to town), waking up in odd places, having strange memories of committing murder and evidence of such all around him.
As is his style, Cleave does SUCH A GOOD JOB with making you think you know the answer, then snatching away all confidence. Up until the last chapter, I had an inkling……. and then I was wrong again. I kind of love it when that happens.
This book will release August 4th from Atria Books. If you LOVE thrillers, put Paul Cleave on your To Read list. I don’t think you’ll regret it!
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…).