trustnoone

Ngaio Marsh Award Winner Paul Cleave’s Trust No One is as wholly original and creative a psychological thriller as you’re likely to read this year.

Protagonist Jerry Grey is struggling with rapid onset Alzheimer’s after being known to readers everywhere under his pen name, Henry Cutter, as a terrific crime novelist. His books have a wide audience and their following have kept Jerry and his lawyer wife, Sandra, and their only daughter in comfort. He is forty-nine years old.

When he’s diagnosed shortly before his daughter announces her engagement, the parents give Eva a few days to enjoy her glow before changing her world forever. She rises to the occasion and she and her fiancé agree to push the wedding up so Jerry can walk her down the aisle. Involved in these hasty wedding preparations, Sandra and Eva don’t seem to notice Jerry is busily scribbling in a journal that he’s keeping so when his mind goes–and there is evidence every day that he is rapidly losing touch with himself–he can read it remind himself of the process, and of who he used to be.

The wedding goes off without a hitch, but there’s an unfortunate bit at the reception apparently. And the next thing Jerry knows, he’s in a home and he keeps confessing to the murder of a woman who turns out to be a character in one of his crime novels. Now he’s really confused. Why has Sandra stopped visiting? How did he manage to ruin his daughters wedding when it went off so well? And what’s really happening in those moments Captain A, as he calls his Alzheimer’s, rob him of conscious thought and memory? Because Jerry has become the police’s number one suspect in a number of recent murders that occur when he manages to escape fro the home.

Who can he trust? Maybe no one. And there’s no good ending in sight.

At once a terrific psychological thriller, this is also an up close and personal look at a mind that is deteriorating. All of the stages of rage and grief are here, as is the sense of betrayal in so many areas, personal, physical, and mental.

Yet with Cleaves ironic sense of humor, the reader learns about the dreaded disease while Jerry goes on the hunt to figure out what’s really happening in his life. A mix of entries from earlier when Jerry’s succumbing to the disease are interspersed with present day action, ratcheting up the tension.

You’ll be flipping pages like Auntie M was to figure out who Jerry really can trust, and who he can’t.

Advertisements