Cleave presents us with the most unusual and commanding book to come along in many years. His principal character is an author who has written extremely successful crime novels involving murder and dark retribution by characters in the books. Jerry Grey, writing under the pen name of Henry Cutter, has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at the height of his career and Paul Cleave picks him up while confined to a nursing home.
Jerry’s memories flow in and out of reality and he believes that he has committed the crimes depicted in his books. He also believes that he has murdered his own wife with whom he is madly in love. Written in the first person, Cleave takes Jerry and his persona Henry Cutter in and out of his conceptions of which crimes he has committed. Very ably done, the novel has every ingredient of a first class description of a serial killer who seems to remember certain details of his crimes. He also loses his grip on these memories from time to time, and we do not know if he is indeed a mass murderer or innocent.
Medical staff at the nursing home he is confined to keep insisting that the crimes he recalls are memories of the situations and characters in his books and are not real. But Jerry finds more and more evidence in articles found, copies of his diary, and physical discoveries that lead him into thinking that he is a serial killer. The twists and turns in the plot make doubly sure that anyone reading the book will not be able to put it down until completed, and afterward enjoy a sigh of pleasure at finding such a novel to read.
8/15 Paul Lane
TRUST NO ONE by Paul Cleave. Atria Books (August 4, 2015). ISBN: 978-1476779171. 352p.