In this “outstanding psychological thriller” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) 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 on 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.
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
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. Visit his website at PaulCleave.com.
Read an Excerpt
Trust No One
The officer leads Jerry and Eva through the fourth floor of the police department. Most people stop what they’re doing to look over. Jerry wonders if he knows any of them. He seems to remember there was somebody he’d used for the books—a cop, maybe, who he could ask how does this work or how does that work, would a bullet do this, would a cop do that, talk me through the loopholes. If he’s here Jerry doesn’t recognize him, then remembers that it’s not a police officer he got help from, but a friend of his, a guy by the name of Hans. He still has the photograph Eva gave him in his hand, and he can remember when it was taken. Things are coming back to him, but not everything.
Eva has to sign something and then speaks to the officer again while Jerry stares at one of the walls where there’s a flyer for the police rugby team that has six names on it, the last one being Uncle Bad Touch. The officer walks over with Eva and wishes Jerry a nice day, and Jerry wishes for the same thing—he wishes for a lot of nice days, and then they’re riding the elevator down and heading outside.
He has no idea what day it is, let alone the date, but there are daffodils along the riverbank of the Avon, the river that runs through the heart of the city and appeared in some of his books—beautiful in reality, but in his books normally a murder weapon or a person is being thrown into it. The daffodils mean it’s spring, putting the day in early September. People on the street look happy, the way they always do when climbing out of the winter months, though in his books, if he’s remembering correctly, people were always miserable no matter what time of the year. His version of Christchurch was one where the Devil had come to town—no smiles, no pretty flowers, no sunsets, just hell in every direction. He’s wearing a sweater, which is great because it’s not really that warm, and great because it means he must have had an attack of common sense earlier that told him to dress for the conditions. Eva stops next to a car ten yards short of a guy sitting on the sidewalk sniffing glue. She unlocks it.
“New car?” he asks, which is a dumb thing to say, because the moment the words are out of his mouth he knows he’s set himself up for disappointment.
“Something like that,” she says, and she’s probably had it for a few years or more. Maybe Jerry even bought it for her.
They climb inside, and when she puts her hand on the steering wheel he notices again her wedding ring. The guy sniffing glue has approached the car and starts tapping on the side of the window. He has Uncle Bad Touch written on his T-shirt, and Jerry wonders if he’s going to play rugby for the cops, or if he was the inspiration for the comedian who wrote the name on the form upstairs. Eva starts the car and they pull away from the curb just as Uncle Bad Touch asks if they’d like to buy a used sandwich from him. They get twenty yards before having to stop at a red light. Jerry pictures the day being split into three parts; the sun is out towards the west and looks like it’ll be gone in a few hours, making him decide they’re nearing the end of the second act. He’s trying to think about Eva’s husband and is getting close to picturing him when Eva starts talking.
“You were found in the town library,” she says. “You walked in and went to sleep on the floor. When one of the staff woke you up, you started shouting. They called the police.”
“I was asleep?”
“Apparently so,” she says. “How much can you remember?”
“The library, but just a little. I don’t remember walking there. I remember last night. I remember watching TV. And I remember the police station. I kind of . . . switched on, I guess, during what I thought was an interview. I thought I was there because the police figured out what I’d done back when—”
“There is no Suzan,” she says, interrupting him.
The light turns green. He thinks about Suzan and how she doesn’t exist outside the pages of a book he can barely remember writing. He feels tired. He stares out at the buildings that look familiar, and is starting to get an idea of where they are. There is a guy arguing with a parking attendant on the sidewalk, poking his finger into the attendant’s chest. There’s a woman jogging while pushing a stroller and talking on her cell phone. There’s a guy carrying a bunch of flowers with a big smile on his face. He sees a young boy, probably fifteen or sixteen, help an old lady pick up her bag of groceries that has split open.
“Do we have to go back to the nursing home? I want to go home instead. To my real home.”
“There is no real home,” Eva says. “Not anymore.”
“I want to see Sandra,” he says, his wife’s name coming out without any effort, and perhaps that’s the key to tricking the disease—just keep talking and eventually you’ll get there. He turns to Eva. “Please.”
She slows the car a little so she can look over at him. “I’m sorry, Jerry, but I have to take you back. You’re not allowed to be out.”
“Allowed? You make it sound like I should be under lock and key. Please, Eva, I want to go home. I want to see Sandra. Whatever it is I’ve done to be put into a home, I promise I’ll be better. I promise. I won’t be a—”
“The house was sold, Jerry. Nine months ago,” she says, staring ahead at the road. Her bottom lip is quivering.
“Then where’s Sandra?”
“Mom has . . . Mom has moved on.”
“Moved on? Jesus, is she dead?”
She looks over at him, and because of that she nearly rear-ends a car that comes to a quick stop ahead of her. “She’s not dead, but she’s . . . she’s not your wife anymore. I mean, you’re still married, but not for much longer—it’s just a matter of paperwork now.”
“Paperwork? What paperwork?”
“The divorce,” she says, and they start moving forward again. There’s a young girl of six or seven looking out the back window of the car ahead, waving and pulling faces.
“She’s leaving me?”
“Let’s not talk about this now, Jerry. How about I take you to the beach for a bit? You always liked the beach. I have Rick’s jacket in the back, you can put that on—it’ll be cold out there.”
“Is Sandra seeing somebody else? Is she seeing this Rick guy?”
“Rick’s my husband.”
“Is there another guy? Is that why Sandra is leaving me?”
“There is no other guy,” Eva says. “Please, I really don’t want to talk about this now. Maybe later.”
“Why? Because by then I’ll have forgotten?”
“Let’s go to the beach,” she says, “and we’ll discuss it there. The fresh air will do you good. I promise.”
“Okay,” he says, because if he behaves, then maybe Eva will take him back to his home instead. Maybe he can carry on with the life he had and work on getting Sandra back.
“Was the house really sold?” he asks.
“Why do you call me Jerry? Why don’t you call me Dad?”
She shrugs and doesn’t look at him. He lets it go.
They head for the beach. He watches the people and the traffic and stares at the buildings, Christchurch City on a spring day and if there’s a more beautiful city in the world he hasn’t seen it, and he has seen a lot of cities—that’s one thing the writing has given him, it’s given him freedom and . . .
“There was traveling,” he says. “Book tours. Sometimes Sandra came along, and sometimes you came too. I’ve seen a lot of countries. What happened to me? To Sandra?”
“The beach, Dad, let’s wait for the beach.”
He wants to wait for the beach, but more is coming back to him now, things he would much rather forget. “I remember the wedding. And Rick. I remember him now. I’m . . . I’m so sorry,” he tells her. “I’m sorry about what I did.”
“It wasn’t your fault.”
The shame and the humiliation come rushing back. “Is that why you stopped calling me Dad?”
She doesn’t look at him. She doesn’t answer. She swipes a finger beneath each of her eyes and wipes away the tears before they fall. He goes back to looking out the window, feelings of shame and embarrassment flooding his thoughts. Up ahead cars are coming to a stop for a family of ducks crossing the road. A camper van pulls over and a pair of young children climb out the side and start taking photos.
“I hate the nursing home,” he says. “I must still have some money. Why can’t I buy myself a home and some private care?”
“It doesn’t work that way.”
“Why doesn’t it work that way?”
“It just doesn’t, Jerry,” she says, using a tone that lets him know she doesn’t want to discuss it.
They keep driving. It’s crazy that he feels uncomfortable with his own daughter, but he does, this giant wall between them feels unbreakable, this wall he put up by being a bad father and an even worse husband. They get through town and head east, out towards Sumner beach, and when they arrive they find a parking spot near the sand, the ocean ahead of them, a line of cafés and shops and then the hills behind. They get out of the car. He watches a dog rolling itself over a seagull that’s been squashed by a car. Eva gets Rick’s jacket out of the trunk, but he tells her he doesn’t need it. It’s a cool wind, but it’s like she said—it’s refreshing. The sand is golden, but there are lots of pieces of driftwood and seaweed and shells. There are maybe two dozen people, but that’s all, most of them young. He takes his shoes and socks off and carries them. They walk along the waterline, seagulls chirping overhead, people playing, and this—this right now, feels like a normal day. This feels like a normal life.
“What are you thinking about?” Eva asks.
“About when I used to bring you here as a kid,” he tells her. “The seagulls used to scare you. What happened with your mother?”
She sighs, then turns towards him. “It wasn’t really one thing,” she says, “but a combination of things.”
“That was a big part of it. She couldn’t forgive you. You also couldn’t forgive yourself.”
“So she left me.”
“Come on,” she says. “It’s a beautiful spring day. Let’s not waste it on sad memories. Let’s walk for another half an hour and then I’ll take you back, okay? I told them I’d have you back by dinner.”
“Will you stay for dinner?”
“I can’t,” she says. “I’m sorry.”
They walk along the beach, they walk and talk, and Jerry looks out over the water, and he wonders how far his body could swim, how far he would make it before the dementia kicked in and he lost all rhythm. Maybe he’d get ten yards out there and drown. Just sink to the bottom and let his lungs fill with water. Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Paul cleave wrote a spectacular book. He demonstrated the dementia state in his main character with a thorough knowledge and understanding of the dreaded alzheimers disease. A page turner filled with applicable confusion and suspense. A different and unexpected ending.
Thoroughly enjoyed this read. Kept me guessing all the way through.
“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
Jerry Grey is a bestselling crime author. Writing under a pseudonym of Henry Cutter, his twelve novels have thrilled readers and granted a comfortable life to him and his family. Jerry is hard at work on his thirteenth book when he forgets his wife's name at a party. This seems like a simple slip of the mind, but soon he becomes more and more forgetful. Finally, he agrees to see a doctor who gives Jerry an unexpectedly grim diagnosis. At the young age of forty-nine, Jerry Grey has the early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Fast forward a year and Jerry's descent into dementia has reached a dismal low. His wife Sandra has left him. His daughter rarely visits him and refuses to call him Dad. Abandoned by his family and barely able to remember his past, Jerry finds himself in the care of a nursing home. As his malady continues to ravage his mind, Jerry begins to confuse his own actions with those of the characters he used to write about. He used the Henry Cutter pseudonym as a way to separate the horrors he wrote about from the joys of his family life, but now the two are indistinguishable. Most days find Jerry confused and confessing to murders that took place in his novel. Jerry has a habit of wandering from the facility in the night. When he is found, he is disoriented and has no recollection of how he escaped or what he did during the time he was gone. The situation becomes more dire when the police show up at Jerry's nursing home. It is no secret that Jerry has confessed to crimes from his novels, but now he has confessed to the murder of a girl who actually existed. Worse, her murder occurred on a night when Jerry escaped. Jerry is certain that he is not a killer, but he has no memory of the events of that night. With no alibi and a group of police seeking any closure to the case, Jerry struggles to defend his innocence and maintain his grasp on reality. The novel switches back and forth between the past and present. The past is told through Jerry's "Madness Journal" that he started keeping at the start of his diagnosis. He knew that his memory would begin to fail, so he wrote the journal to inform his future self of his life. These journal entries alternate with the story of present day Jerry and his ongoing mental decline. As the novel progresses, The past and present begin to come together and culminate in a electrifying conclusion. The mystery ends up being conventional to the crime genre, but the spin of an unreliable protagonist helps to keep the plot moving and the suspense tightly wound. Trust No One is an adequately dark thriller that skillfully breathes new life into the genre while adhering to the style that readers have come to expect.
This was an amazing book. I've never read Paul Cleave before but will read more of his books now. Trust No One was presented in such a way that it made you want to keep turning the page to see what would happen next. The plot was well written and the characters were brought to life. My husband and I both read this book and we agreed it was one of the best books we have read lately. I received this arc book from NetGalley for an honest review.
I love mysteries and thrillers with unreliable narrators, and there is no more unreliable narrator than one suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Well, unless the Alzheimer's patient also happens to be a bestselling author of crime fiction, with all that such an imagination entails. In Trust No One, Paul Cleave continuously shifts the point of view back and forth between Jerry Grey's "Madness Journal," written in the second person to his future, even more demented self, and third-person narration of Jerry's current situation, in which he keeps escaping from his nursing home at the same time that local women are being murdered in the ways described in Jerry's novels. Is Jerry the killer? Is someone else following his book plots, and, if so, is that person deliberately framing Jerry? And by the way, Jerry's murderous protagonist Henry Cutter has started talking, too; what does that mean for Jerry's sanity? Cleave does a terrific job in keeping all of the possibilities in play to the very end of the book. Highly recommended for fans of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, Alice LaPlante's Turn of Mind, and other crime fiction featuring untrustworthy protagonists. Those with loved ones suffering from Alzheimer's should be prepared for a very realistic picture of that disease from the perspectives of both the patient and his family. Those who enjoy Trust No One should also consider reading Cleave's "Christchurch Noir" series. I received a free copy of Trust No One through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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.
"Trust No One" by Paul Cleave will be published August 4, 2015 and I sure do recommend you read it. This one was a definite five out of five star. If you have had anyone in your family or even a friend who has Alzheimer's disease then this psychological thriller is not only a great mystery to enjoy but you'll also get a real idea about what it might feel like to have this insidious disease. Our main character is Jerry Grey. Jerry is a famous writer who writes crime thrillers under the pseudonym Henry Cutter. As Henry Cutter, Jerry has kept his readers enthralled throughout his twelve books. But now Jerry has a problem. At the early age of fourth-nine, he's just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Jerry tells all the wanna-be authors he meets to "write what you know, fake the rest". His motto becomes a problem when Jerry cannot tell what he made up and what he actually experienced. Jerry wrote exquisitely intense books about psychopaths and murder and now, as Alzheimer's slowly muddles his brain, he begins confessing to the murders that he wrote about in his books. The police, the nurses in the home where Jerry now lives, and even his daughter become Jerry's audience as he continues to confess to more and more terrible crimes. Is Jerry really a murderer? Has he just lost his grip on reality? The reader is led on a harrowing path of misdirection, red herrings and Jerry's sheer fantasy and the trick is to try and figure out what is real and what is Jerry's terrible disease. I found this thriller an easy way to digest the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. It really helped to connect to a likable character and try to understand what this decent into illness would be like. I would highly recommend "Trust No One" to anyone, even if you just want an intricate psychological thriller that keeps you guessing until the end. Cleave is an award winning author and that's obvious reading this book. The prose are so smooth, Cleave makes it easy for the reader to accept Jerry's "crazy" thinking. I applaud how beautifully Paul Cleave wove his mystery and he forced the reader to consider how horrible it would feel to lose one's mind slowly. Not only was this book a spectacular thriller but it also taught the reader about a disease that each of us should pray to avoid.
Poor Jerry, did he do it or did his author self do it in the novels that he so accurately wrote for his readers? This unfortunate fellow gets himself confused between what is reality and what is fiction. Jerry is Henry Cutter, a famous crime writer who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. His wife Sandra and his daughter Eva have watched his health decline steady and now, his days are rapidly deteriorating. Informing the aid at the nursing home, Jerry is ready to confess to his crimes. But did those crimes really occur? Jerry suddenly believes he is wearing the masks of the killers of the realistic characters that he has created inside his criminal novels. It’s sad how both of Jerry’s worlds are colliding together. The names of the individuals sound familiar but because he knew them or because of something else, this disease is so frustrating and tiring. Jerry is loose with his tongue as this disease takes over his body and although I can’t help myself I have to laugh at Jerry and his offensive behavior, his forgetfulness and his attitude. He’s free of restraints and his words and actions just flow, they flow and flow and they never stop. I would hate to be on his bad side. His neighbor seems to be a having a rough time since she had it out with Jerry yet Jerry doesn’t remember anything she wants to blame him for. When the police start to question Jerry about some murders that are occurring in his vicinity, Jerry is more confused than ever. Hans, his best friend steps in and tries to sort things out. Jerry’s Madness Journal, the journal which Jerry writes down his activities and thoughts in, comes up missing. The clock is ticking….. I really enjoyed the character of Jerry. His confusion over the murders and his health issues made the book for me. I was laughing one minute with him and the next, my heart was breaking as his world crumbled around him as the disease took away the life he loved. The storyline was not fast moving but rather slow as I followed Jerry and his progression with his health and how that affected his world. I was bothered by the conclusion and that is why it did not give a 5 star review. I felt that as things were wrapping up, Jerry’s disease took a back stage. It was like he was healed for that period of time and he was just Jerry, and that…I just couldn’t understand. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Atria Books in exchange for an honest review.
Paul Cleave’s newest book, Trust No One, departs from his usual cast of characters seen in the Theodore Tate and Cleaner series. Instead, this story focuses on a man by the name of Jerry Grey. Grey, also known by his pen name, Harry Cutter, has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease leaving his writing career up in the air. As his mind begins to fail him, Jerry begins to write a “Madness Journal”, in which he tells his future self those important things to remember. But, can present day Jerry trust the journal's entries? Being a crime writer Grey has written about many disturbing scenes but the lines start to blur between what is fact and what is fiction. As Grey states "Write what you know and fake the rest." Is Grey capable of committing the crimes in which he is accused or is someone taking advantage of his illness? Trust No One switches between present day Jerry, in a nursing home, and the Jerry who has just been diagnosed with the Big A. Trust No One has a refreshing original plot that keeps the reader guessing right up until the last pages. I thoroughly enjoyed Cleave's latest book. Having an unreliable narrator made the book stand out in comparison to all the others I have read this year. Every time I thought I had "it" figured out I was duped again and again. While this is different from his other books, Cleave definitely delivers. I recommend picking up this gripping thriller and figuring out for yourself whom to trust. ~ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review