‘Suspicion is cast on two successful crime writers, when their seven-year-old son goes missing.
Are they trying to show that they can commit the perfect crime?’
– The Quiet People
[ About The Book ]
Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful New Zealand crime writers, happily married and topping bestseller lists worldwide. They have been on the promotional circuit for years, joking that no one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living.
So when their challenging seven-year-old son Zach disappears, the police and the public naturally wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time…
Are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime?
Electrifying, taut and immaculately plotted, The Quiet People is a chilling, tantalisingly twisty thriller that will keep you gripped and guessing to the last explosive page.
[ My Review ]
The Quiet People by Paul Cleave will be published in ebook format September 25th (Original Paperback November 25th) and is described as ‘a mesmerisingly twisty, dark thriller from the number-one bestselling author’. I do love a twisty novel, and I also love a New Zealand setting, having read a few books in this location courtesy of Orenda Books, so I knew The Quiet People had all the necessary ingredients for a brilliant read. It didn’t disappoint me and, in dread of revealing anything, I will skirt around much of the plot with just enough to, I hope, whet your appetite.
Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are immersed in the fictional world of crime. They are co-writers of crime fiction and over the years they have imagined the many ways that one could get away with any crime. Cameron has a voice in his head that is referred to as his ‘What if?’ voice, always one step ahead of any possible scenario. But Lisa and Cameron are very much on the back foot when their seven year old son Zach vanishes without a trace. Overnight he has disappeared, apparently out of his bedroom window. The previous evening he had been in a strop, behaviour that his parents had termed CZM (Crazy Zach Mode). An earlier incident with Cameron had set him off and he threatened to run away. Cameron was dismissive of Zach’s words, as they had heard similar before. But this time it was different because, come morning, Zach was gone.
The police are immediately called to the scene and following an intensive search of the surrounding area, it soon becomes very clear to all that Zach is not hiding in any of the usual places. Lisa and Cameron are bewildered, unable to grasp how quickly their lives have changed. They are used to a fictional scenario where this heightened fear belongs to one of their many characters but now the tables have turned and neither Cameron nor Lisa can cope.
Lisa’s immediate reaction is to blame Cameron and she makes it quite clear that she does not want to be by his side. Cameron had believed their relationship was stronger than this and her absence, her recriminations hit him hard. Was it his fault? Could he have done something differently?
The police consider the possibility of the parents as suspects which is no great surprise as they were the last to see him but, it is when the keyboard warriors start to throw accusations, and the public start to listen that the media clamber on board hounding the family and setting up camp outside their home. It is noted that Cameron and Lisa Murdoch have often commented about the fact that, as crime fiction writers, they could get away with any crime they commit. Could they have done something to their own child? Are they testing this theory? The police speak to teachers and others about Zach and they are told that Zach could be a difficult child, causing public scenes and possibly frustrating his parents. Could they? Would they? Did they?
The Quiet People is the perfect ‘did they, didn’t thriller’. If you are looking for curve balls in your books then The Quiet People will satisfy your thirst, as they just keep on coming. The tension builds and builds, the heart-rate is set on high, the scene is set and, when finally the truth is revealed about the mystery behind Zach Murdoch’s disappearance, you will be speechless.
The Quiet People is a very clever book. The concept is very smart. The family dynamic is wonderfully played out and the sway of the public is expertly depicted. The anticipation, the dread is excellently developed throughout leaving the reader on a precipice more than once. A really frantic and exciting ride, The Quiet People truly is a class act, a highly enjoyable and riveting read. As a final note I have to mention Detective Rebecca Kent. She is a great character, brilliantly developed as the story unfolds, and I’m hoping that she might feature in further Christchurch based novels from Paul Cleave…just saying!
[ Bio ]
Paul is Christchurch born and raised, and other than a couple of years when he was living in London and bouncing around Europe a little, he’s always lived there. Paul wanted to write horror, and it was a few years in when he realised that crime – real life crime – is horror. When he made that connection, he turned to writing dark crime fiction, writing first The Killing Hour, and then The Cleaner, in his mid-twenties. Not long after that Paul sold his house and lived with his parents so he could write full time – a gamble that paid off a few years later when Random House signed him up. From that point on he’s written his dark tales set in his home city, introducing Joe Middleton – the Christchurch Carver, and Melissa, and Theodore Tate, and Schroder, and Jerry Gray, among others to the world.
Twitter – @PaulCleave