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Paul Cleave

  • Original Title: TRUST NO ONE
  • Publication date: August 2015
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Country: NZ
  • 352 print pages
  • Crime fiction/Psychological Thriller


  • Epoch: Contemporary
  • Time Period: 21st century
  • Location setting: New Zealand
  • Themes: PEOPLE facing life, Disease, PEOPLE facing the extraordinary, Psychological dysfunction, Double identity


New Zealand crime novelist Jerry Grey, suffering from the early onset of Alzheimer’s, confesses his worst secret: his stories are real. He knows this because he committed the brutal murders described in his books written under a pseudonym.


"A vivid, jangled exploration of mental illness, dark imagination, and the nowhere territory in between." - Kirkus

Paul Cleave is currently dividing his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where all of his novels are set. Paul Cleave is the author of eight award-winning, internationally bestselling crime thrillers, including JOE VICTIM, finalist for the Edgar, Barry, and Ngaio Marsh awards, and, most recently, FIVE MINUTES ALONE.

In his new psychological thriller, a famous crime writer struggles to differentiate between his own reality and the frightening plot lines he’s created for the page.
The author spins one nightmare scenario after another out of Jerry’s homely malady, leaping with such fiendish élan between past and present tense and first-person, second-person, and third-person narration that you may wonder if you’ve killed someone yourself.


All the time he was writing his 12 thrillers, New Zealand novelist Jerry Grey kept his personality carefully separate from that of Henry Cutter, the pseudonym under which he published those books—and the shadow self whom Jerry created to write them. Jerry’s ability to distinguish what he’s imagined from what’s really happened, however, has already abandoned him at the fade-in, which finds him confessing a series of killings to the Christchurch police. No dice, they tell him; the Suzan he says he’s killed was only a victim in his first novel, A Christmas Murder. They turn Jerry over to his daughter, Eva, who takes him back to the nursing home he’s wandered away from. But it’s clear from Jerry’s entries in his Madness Journal that his memory mingles freely with his professional imagination (“write what you know, and fake the rest,” he tells himself and anyone else who’ll listen) and a fathomless sense of dread. Why has he been committed to a nursing home? What unforgivable thing did he do on Eva’s wedding day? Why is his wife, Sandra, so eager to be rid of him? And if he didn’t kill all those women whose last moments haunt him, who did—and are they even dead?

Hailed by critics as a “masterful” (Publishers Weekly) writer who consistently offers “ferocious storytelling that makes you think and feel” (The Listener) and whose fiction evokes “Breaking Bad reworked by the Coen Brothers” (Kirkus Reviews), Paul Cleave takes us down a cleverly twisted path to determine the fine line between an author and his characters, between fact and fiction.

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  • Author’s biography

    Paul Cleave lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, where all his novels are set.

    His first novel, THE CLEANER, was published to outstanding reviews. It has subsequently become an international bestseller, selling over 250,000 copies, and was the top-selling crime/thriller title for 2007 on in Germany. It was also short-listed for the Ned Kelly Awards for Crime Writing. CEMETERY LAKE is his third novel, after 2006’s THE KILLING HOUR.