By Paul Cleave
Who better to suspect in the kidnapping of seven-year-old Zach than his parents, the crime-writing couple Cameron and Lisa Murdoch?
How many times have they said in interviews and panel discussions that they had all the skills to carry off the perfect crime? And couldn’t their sagging mid-list sales do with some wild publicity? Wasn’t Zach, with his emotional outbursts, willful stubbornness and tendency to have temper tantrums, a real burden?
As reporters mass in front of the Murdoch house, neighbors tell ready microphones that the Murdochs were “such quiet people — you’d never suspect this of them.” Social media explodes with photos of Cameron losing control in a bouncy castle searching for Zach who had wandered off without telling him. He accidentally knocked a girl out of the castle and grabbed for a boy trying to show him Zach’s photo. The boy’s father punches him out. Photos quickly go viral.
Pseudo-journalist Dallas Lockwood, who once sued the Murdochs for plagiarism and lost, knows just how to turn the knife and put the Murdochs in the worst light. Soon, strangers with posters accusing Cameron of kidnapping — or even killing — his own son are thronging the Murdoch’s block.
The short prologue to this gripping mystery is enough to cast doubt in readers’ minds about the public view of this crime. Every chapter gives a new twist to this story. One accident after another builds terrible tragedies for the Murdoch family.
There aren’t many clean hands at the end of this book, but justice (in a nonlegal sense) gets done at the end.
This is an unusual story well done by a talented writer who knows just how much to reveal when.
About the Author: Paul Cleave (1974 – )
From his first book, THE CLEANER, published in 2006, Paul Cleave’s books have won popular and critical approval. His book, BLOOD MEN (2010), won the 2011 Ngaio Marsh Best Crime Novel Award. He is noted for setting many of his novels in his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, so vividly the city almost becomes a character.
He currently divides his time between Christchurch and Europe.
His novels include:
- JOE VICTIM (2013), which begins where THE CLEANER ends and features Joe Middleton, a character from THE CLEANER.
- CEMETERY LAKE (2009), which features the character Theodore Tate, who makes a return in COLLECTING COOPER (2011). In THE LAUGHTERHOUSE (2012), Tate is tracking down a crime that began 15 years earlier when he was a rookie police officer. FIVE MINUTES ALONE (2014) also features Tate and former Detective Carl Schroeder in a chase to find a killer who is allowing rape victims to exact revenge on their attackers.
- TRUST NO ONE is a stand-alone novel that, like THE QUIET PEOPLE, features a crime writer, Jerry Grey, who has developed Alzheimers and is confessing to the crimes he wrote about.