Trust No One begins with the author Jerry Grey confessing to a murder. He recalls murdering Suzan with a ‘z’ – his first victim – to the two officers in front of him.
The hot female detective shows him the cover of a book by the author Henry Cutter and that name rings a bell with Jerry.
It takes a while before Jerry realises in full that he truly killed Suzan, only he did it in his book A Christmas Murder many years ago and that Henry Cutter is his pen name as a writer. Also, he eventually remembers the female cop is actually his daughter Eva.
Jerry has once again mixed up the stories he created as Henry with real life.
Jerry Grey suffers from early onset Alzheimer’s.
His relationship with his daughter is somewhat strained and she tells him he is not living with her mother, his former wife Sandra, anymore but in a care home from which he frequently escapes.
Jerry is crestfallen that he can’t go back to his former house. Life in a care facility seems a terrible prospect to him.
Jerry has his good and bad days and he has been writing entries into his journal since day one of the harrowing diagnosis.
Back at the care home he later finds a golden chain with a four-leaf clover in the pocket of his pants and has no idea who it belongs to or how it got there.
For Jerry the lines between fictional characters and his own life keep blurring. He wonders if his books have really only been works of fiction or if he might not be the harmless man everyone – including him – thinks him to be, especially as female victims are being found in Christchurch that have been killed while he was away from the care home…
With Jerry being a completely unreliable character Cleave manages to transfer Jerry’s own confusion to the reader, which is a brilliant magic trick, as you won’t know what to think or believe anymore.
The idea of an Alzheimer patient as the protagonist of a thriller makes for a great setting and Cleave shows the vulnerability of Jerry as well as how this disease can bring out the mean side in someone.
Also Cleave describes the downside of Alzheimer’s bleakly and shockingly without any sugar coating, which is often deeply moving and sometimes also funny yet Cleave never exploits the disease or makes fun of his main character.
It is absolutely heartbreaking for the reader to learn from Jerry’s journal how his mind slowly succumbs to the vicious disease and how his memories have deteriorated further with each day. You will literally suffer with Jerry with each further page you read.
Trust No One is Paul Cleave’s most personal and best book yet, he’s definitely advanced as a writer. Trust No One lacks the general laconic tone of his former books, which in this case elevates the story to a whole new level.
Trust No One is one of those thrillers that has you completely under its spell and you simply can’t put it aside until you’ve finished reading it.
Trust No One is a mesmerising must-read of a masterpiece and I guarantee you won’t be able to guess the completely unexpected ending of this exceptional and brilliantly constructed thriller.