Author: Paul Cleave
Publisher: Atria Books
Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon
Provided by Publisher
Blurb: 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?
Review: I don’t know if my worst fear is that I already had Alzheimer’s or if this book gave it to me? Jesus! This convincingly twisted, chilling thriller portrayed a man on the edge of his sanity, fighting not only his own doubt but the blaring evidence set so cunningly in front of him. Do we ALL have a serial killer locked up inside, waiting for dementia to break our mind loose and set them free?
Jerry Grey is a murder mystery writer who is in the beginning stages of dementia. He’s only forty-nine, very young to have Alzheimers, so he’s really afraid that it’s going to be fast. What starts out as his “Madness Journal” quickly catapults into a depraved tale of death and insanity as we’re led on a merry chase of guessing what’s real and what’s not. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a MORE unrelieable narrator! In fact, half the time I’m not sure “which” narrator is talking at all!
The rhythm of the book follows the path of the illness, mimicking the good days and bad days in the order of the entries, some giving information–some taking it away. Where’s his wife Sandra? Has she left him like his daughter Eva has told him? Distinguishing between what’s real and what’s a drug-fueled fantasy is very difficult, so when at the three-fourths point a welcome straight narrative emerges, it gives you somewhat of a break. Until you see where it’s going…
Brilliantly deceptive mind-crafting by Paul Cleve will keep you guessing until the very end of this eerie and uncanny look at a life on the down-slide into darkness. It kept me engaged and guessing until the very end. Read it if you like puzzles, if you can’t figure out things because it will certainly be an exercise. Don’t read it expecting a HEA. Thanks!