Title: Trust No One
Author: Paul Cleave
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Year: 2015
My Ratiing:3/552 Book Goodreads Challenge
Criminally Good Book Club Feb 2017
|A reading break in Washington Square Park!|
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?
When I read the blurb for this book, I thought this was one of the most intriguing premises in a thriller that I had seen in a while and was instantly curious. I actually voted for this book as my first choice for January and was thrilled (excuse the pun) to find out we would get a chance to pick it up in February. This book was an interesting contrast to the January pick 'Pendulum' in that most of the tension in the book came from the narrator's internal conflict rather than external action.
The story is told in two threads. The first is in the present day following Jerry as a series of mysterious murders have started to appear in the news. We find out that Jerry has been admitted to a care home following a disastrous event after his Alzheimer's diagnosis. The second are entries in what Jerry refers to as his 'Madness Journal', a written records of events and memories that he begins to write after he has been diagnosed so that his 'future self' will know who he was and what occurred as his memory begins to deteriorate. Essentially we have two parallel stories, the past leading up to the reveal of what occurred to land Jerry in the care home and the present day leading up to the reveal of who is behind these present day murders.
I wanted to love this book so much, I really did, It had all the elements to make this a book right up my ally: a psychological thriller, an unreliable narrator and mysterious murders. It also centered around Alzheimer's in a way that I though was well handled, evoking both terror and empathy as Jerry' struggles with no longer being able to trust his mind or his actions. Ultimately however the pieces didn't come together for me. The beginning was absolutely gripping and some of the early descriptions of how Jerry's diagnosis was beginning to affect his relationship with his wife had me choking up. By the middle of the book however, I felt that the tension had deflated and I found myself less invested in the story. The ending felt a bit too cluttered with several reveals and back peddling such that ultimately it felt underwhelming. The big reveal at the end also managed to be simultaneously a little cliche as far as thriller tropes go and lack enough set up to make the perpetrator believable in their motives. Overall the book started out strong but didn't have enough steam to carry out the books amazing premise through to a strong end.