Well, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that the Quiet People are those who murder people, and are then described on the news by neighbours/workmates/people wanting to get their face on the news as, “Really quiet. We never really got to know them, but they were always pleasant. They didn’t stand out. We didn’t imagine they were capable of something like this…” etc, etc. We’ve all heard it, and it’s a term conjured up by Mr What If. He lives in the imagination of our main character, a crime writer called Cameron Murdoch. We all have Mr What Ifs – that part of us that imagines the worst case scenario. Cameron and his wife, Lisa Cross, write books as a duo, and they have a seven-year-old son, Zach, whose behaviour can sometimes be described as challenging – that is, more challenging than your average seven-year-old. When, after a disastrous day out at a fair, Zach threatens at bedtime to run away, Cameron plays along, telling him to go ahead, but to think of all the things he’ll need to take, plus how he’ll manage to finance his new life of independence. It’s the sort of conversation lots of parents have probably had when their children hit out with the, “running away” threat. Except, in the morning, it looks like he has taken Dad at his word – he’s gone, along with his backpack, and his favourite soft toy, a ghost called Willy.
Why am I getting a bad feeling about all this? Probably because there wouldn’t be a novel if Zach was found in the next street?
Exactly! Now, the problem for Cameron and Lisa is that, over the years, in TV and print interviews, and at festivals, they’ve joked about, “being the best people to get away with murder,” and, “able to commit the perfect crime.” So, as the hours tick by and Zach is nowhere to be seen, the police inevitably focus on those closest to Zach – that difficult child – and wonder whether Cameron and Lisa are responsible for trying to commit the perfect crime. And, of course, all those jokes said in interviews, etc, now don’t suddenly seem so funny…
I’m guessing you won’t be telling us if Cameron and Lisa are responsible for Zach’s disappearance…
No, of course not! But I will say there’s a great deal more to this book than Zach’s disappearance – and it all occurs at a very fast pace. You’ll be kept guessing, and you’ll be kept reading long past your bedtime. It’s superbly plotted, with one part seen from Cameron’s viewpoint, then a part written in the third person. Paul Cleave is a very skilled writer, and has inserted a prologue which gives you the impression that you know exactly where this story is going. He’s definitely a crime writer whose work I’d be keen to read more of. Also, it’s set in New Zealand, for a change – shockingly, I couldn’t think of one crime fiction book I’d read set in New Zealand, but with the proliferation of great crime fiction coming from Down Under at the moment, it surely won’t be long before we see more from there, too.
And it’s from Orenda Books – one of your favourite imprints, yes?
It is – not content with searching all over the northern hemisphere, particularly Scandinavia and Iceland, for new writers for us Brits to devour (as well as publishing lots of great British writers!), it seems Karen Sullivan has headed round the globe to look for new talent – and she’s certainly found it with Paul Cleave. If you’re looking for a book that moves at breakneck speed and keeps you guessing, here’s the perfect candidate!
Don’t miss it!
My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate in this blog tour, and to Orenda Books for the eARC. My review is completely unbiased.
BLURB: 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 twisted thriller that will keep you gripped and guessing to the last explosive page.