Blog Tour – November 2022 – The Pain Tourist – Paul Cleave

Paul Cleave – now that’s a familiar name to crimeworm followers, isn’t it? (Assuming some exist…!)

It is – many of you might remember me raving about a book called The Quiet People previously, so naturally I did a little dance (well, I can’t physically dance any more, but in my head I did one, if you get me!) when word came in there was a blog tour for another Paul Cleave book. Now, this is one of those books that’s difficult to review, as you want to give your readers some info on the concept of the book, but not hit dreaded spoiler territory…

So what is the concept?

This is an audaciously daring high-concept thriller so I’m going to take a deep breath and do my best… A house invasion in a family home in a quiet New Zealand suburb sees the parents being shot. The eleven-year-old son James hears the commotion downstairs and rushes through to warn his older sister Hazel with the hope they can both escape through her window, but her refusal to heed his warning sees him letting her escape, while he is taken downstairs and also shot by the robbers.

But unlike his parents, James survives, and, miraculously, after nine years in a coma, awakens. During that time he had what the doctors and his sister initially thought were extremely vivid dreams about the life he and his family would have gone on to live if that night had ended differently. But when the dates things that happened in what James calls “Coma World” (he writes a huge amount about Coma World for Hazel and his doctor, Dr McCoy, to read) correlate with things that happened in the real world – for example, the exact dates of his grandmother’s death and funeral – they are totally gobsmacked.

As the perpetrators of the home invasion are still on the loose, when James wakes up Detective Kent wants to know if he remembers anything more about that fateful night nine years previously. But they’ve also got wind James is awake and is a loose end they need to tie up…

But they’re not the only killers on the loose, are they?

No – there’s a killer called Joe Middleton, and another killer who seems inspired, shall I say, by his crimes, who the media christen “Faux Joe.” He also seems to have insider knowledge of the original Joe’s crime scenes. The question is, how is James possibly aware of the existence of other killers? And can he access any information from Coma World to help the police – particularly Detective Kent, and Tate, who had left the force but always maintained an interest in James’s welfare and that particular case?

Phew! Quite a lot to pack into one novel!

Indeed – but only Paul Cleave could manage it, make it plausible, and incredibly readable. Several times I woke up at 5 am with the light still on as I’d been suffering from the “one more chapter” disease – which doesn’t hit me an awful lot nowadays, as my multitude of medication (love a bit of alliteration!) usually means it’s lights out at a fairly sensible hour. I’m aware I keep saying this about books, but it’s one of my favourites of recent times. And don’t just take it from me – even Lee Child says Cleave is an “automatic must-read” for him. And as he reads a book a day, as well as one of his own selling every nine seconds, you better believe he knows a good read!

My mind is particularly blown by Paul Cleave’s imagination and originality. That, coupled with his ability to write a real page-turner, peopled with a multitude of fascinating characters, has me in utter awe (yeah, okay, and extreme envy!) at his writing talent. Please don’t miss this book – you will really be missing out!

Hurrah! Another real triumph for Orenda Books!

With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate in this blog tour, and Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for the ARC. This has not affected my opinion, and this is an honest review.

Author Paul Cleave

Please check out my wonderful fellow bloggers’ thoughts on The Pain Tourist!

BLURB: How do you catch a killer…

When the only evidence is a dream?

James Garrett was critically injured when he was shot following his parents’ execution, and no one expected him to waken from a deep, traumatic coma. When he does, nine years later, Detective Inspector Rebecca Kent is tasked with closing the case that her now retired colleague, Theodore Tate, failed to solve all those years ago.

But between that, and hunting for Copy Joe – a murderer on a spree, who’s imitating Christchurch’s most notorious serial killer – she’s going to need Tate’s help. Especially when they learn that James has lived out another life in his nine-year coma, and there are things he couldn’t possibly know, including the fact that Copy Joe isn’t the only serial killer in town…

4 thoughts on “Blog Tour – November 2022 – The Pain Tourist – Paul Cleave

    • Definitely a writer worth investigating – so much good crime fiction coming out of the Southern hemisphere at the moment! I’ve been a bit obsessed with Australian “Outback Noir” the last couple of years. Travelling vicariously, as I like to say!


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