Trust No One: Book summary and reviews of Trust No One by Paul Cleave

Trust No One

A Thriller

by Paul Cleave

Trust No One by Paul Cleave X
Trust No One by Paul Cleave
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  • Published Aug 2015
    352 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Cleave's whirligig plot mesmerizes." - People

"Starred Review. On almost every page, this outstanding psychological thriller forces the reader to reconsider what is real and what is only a product of Jerry's derangement." - Publishers Weekly

"This powerhouse novel plays with the subtexts at the core of the mystery genre… The author's gin-clear prose brings the tale to a convincing and disturbing finale." – Booklist

"Cleave is a master of evoking the view askew; delving into the troubled psyches of conflicted characters." – The Listener (New Zealand)

This information about Trust No One was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Cloggie Downunder

brilliant crime fiction
“You’re still trying to get used to the idea of what’s happening. You have another appointment later in the week … with a counsellor who is going to give you an idea of what to expect. They’ll no doubt tell you about the seven stages of grief – wait, no, it’s seven deadly sins, seven dwarfs, seven reindeer – grief only has five stages. Denial, Anger, Blitzen, Dopey and Bargaining.”

Trust No One is the ninth novel by award-winning New Zealand author, Paul Cleave. Jerry Grey is a crime writer. He’s written eleven really good crime thrillers; the twelfth wasn’t as good, and the thirteenth, his editor says, has quite a lot of mistakes. That’s because, at age forty-nine, Jerry has developed Alzheimer’s dementia.

When he was diagnosed, the counsellor warned that he might well be in a nursing home within months. And it is indeed this nursing home resident who has found his (obviously very determined) way into the city where he is at the Police Station confessing to an attractive young female detective a murder he committed thirty years before. Trouble is, no one will believe him. The woman keeps telling him the victim, Suzan (with a z) is not real.

Finally, she pulls out a crime novel written by Henry Cutter and shows him the back-cover blurb: the plot is exactly what Jerry is describing. Henry Cutter is Jerry’s pseudonym: “Henry Cutter is who he would become when he wrote, because that way he could be Henry for the bad times and Jerry for the good.” Jerry accepts this, and memories slowly stir, solidify: the attractive young woman is actually his daughter, Eva.

But when Jerry finally returns to his nursing home room, he finds an item in his pocket that he recognises from the afternoon TV news broadcast: if only he could remember where he has been and what he has done, and how he has acquired it. Jerry begins to wonder, can he trust his carers? His friends? Himself?

Following his diagnosis, almost a year earlier, Jerry began writing a journal for Future Jerry “It was a way of reminding my future self of who I was.” Unfortunately it also meant that, in his lucid moments, he would be acutely aware of what he had lost. Journal writer Jerry recorded events and experiences with wit and humour. Sometimes Henry, not such a nice guy, but good at figuring things out, contributed to it.

Cleave gives the reader an original plot that is cleverly constructed with little clues, hints and red herrings. Initially the pace is measured, but the first clue will have the reader hooked and the pages turning right up to the dramatic climax. Cleave certainly keeps the reader guessing: is Jerry not just writing crime, but actually committing it? Or is his alter-ego, Henry Cutter doing the deeds? Perhaps someone around him is taking advantage of his mental state to handily despatch a rival while Jerry takes the blame? Or is there something even more sinister going on?

Jerry, both when lucid and confused, is guileless, the ultimate unreliable narrator. When Captain A (his Alzheimer’s) is in charge of his mind, Jerry comes out with some laugh-out-loud stuff, statements that amply illustrate he has lost touch with reason and reality, and perhaps descended into a slight paranoia.

Jerry seems to be mired in the ‘bargaining” stage: “I know why I have Alzheimer’s. It’s because the Universe is punishing me for the bad things I’ve done. I hurt somebody, maybe even more than one person. The only hope I have of the Universe returning my memories is if I confess to my crimes. I have to go to the police.”

Cleave paints a realistic picture of how the Alzheimer’s brain functions to produce seemingly inexplicable behaviour. The scene where Jerry wakes in his nursing home room, a little hungover after the previous night’s excesses (he thinks), certain that he is in a German Hotel room, on a book tour, is both blackly funny and heart-breakingly real. This is brilliant crime fiction that neatly demonstrates how the concepts of truth, innocence and guilt are altered when the memory is flawed. Topical, thought-provoking and filled with dark humour

Mary O. (Boston, MA)

Riveting
A brilliant novel with twists and turns that make it hard to put down. It is a perfect summer beach read. The addition of the backdrop of early onset Alzheimer's adds another dimension to this murder mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!!! Highly recommended

Sherri A. (Westbrook, CT)

the terror of forgetting
I love when a well-known, respected author of the thrillers/crime/mystery genre writes a standalone. They get to flex their literary muscles without depending on familiar characters. Such is the case in the brilliant novel Trust No One. Imagine a man, confessing to his crimes as a serial killer(in great, realistic detail), who also happens to have written novels along the exact same line as the crimes that he is confessing to, except that he cannot remember any of that, because he also has early-onset Alzheimers...WOW. Did he? Is he? Paul Cleave confessed in an interview recently that this is his favorite novel(not because it is his newest) and I can absolutely see why--riveting from the early pages on.Absolutely original. Bravo!

Rosemary C. (Austin, TX)

An engaging story
Mr. Cleave has implemented a clever plot idea and executed it well. He's an excellent writer and I enjoyed the gallows humor throughout.

Joan N. (Evanston, IL)

Rubic's Cube of a Thriller
From the very first page I knew I was in the hands of a master. This story of a crime writer and his increasing memory problems because of early-onset Alzheimer's Disease is a real page-turner because of the heightening suspense: Did he kill those women? Why doesn't he remember? Or was the murderer his alter ego, Henry Cutter, his pen name? Fiction, memory, and reality are mixed in the deteriorating mind of the narrator Jerry Grey. What could have been a maudlin story about the increasing isolation of the disease becomes instead a many-faceted puzzle that kept me guessing and trying out solutions, like a maddening but addicting Rubic's Cube. I couldn't put it down

Judy G. (Carmel, IN)

Captain A
I loved this book! Twists and turns in memory and reality within the traumatic world of an Alzheimer's patient made this not only a thrilling read but also yet another insight into the world of patients with "Captain A" in charge of their lives.

...35 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Paul Cleave Author Biography

Paul Cleave is the internationally bestselling author of ten award-winning crime thrillers, including Joe Victim, which was a finalist for the 2014 Edgar and Barry Awards, Trust No one and Five minutes Alone, which won consecutive Ngaio Marsh awards in 2015 and 2016. He lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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