The Quiet People by Paul Cleave

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.


Every book I read, brings out very distinct emotions in me from excitement to very rarely indifference! Having read a lot of thrillers, most now leave me feeling entertained, but rarely do they pin me to my seat, unable to tear myself away from the book. The Quiet People did, it was like taking a ride on a rollercoaster and boy was the ride thrilling.

The author Paul Cleave has managed to create the perfect thriller! He has a story that twists and turns so many times, you are left second guessing yourself all the way through. With characters that defy the readers attempts to pigeon hole them into predefined roles, such as hero or villain. He writes them with such adroitness, you feel yourself constantly wrong footed every time your tempted to second guess their motivations, their guilt or innocence. Rarely have I felt so deceived. He tricked me into trusting him and his characters, then slowly eroded my assumptions, leaving me rattled, shocked and best of all surprised! Cameron in particular has so many layers to him that it feels impossible to pin him down. Is he just a gifted writer or a man about to prove that he can pull off the perfect crime? He feels in turns unhinged, then reasonable, full of barely contained rage, yet focused. Lurching from frenetic, to a calmness that both defies and yet proves, that crime writers could be the perfect criminal! You never quite know if he is capable of harming his own child and if the darkness that lurks within simply drives him to write the perfect thriller, or like Jekyll and Hyde, forces him listen to the voice within and turn words into weapons.

Many thrillers allow the story to be drowned out by the relentless twists in the narrative! This leaves them feeling shallow and they lack substance, so it was a relief to find that The Quiet People didn’t fall into this trap. It is insanely clever! Here we are asked to not only question our assumptions about those quiet people that sit behind the typewriters, but are forced to confront the very real possibility that evil lurkes behind the quiet doors of suburbia. The twists are there to wrong foot us, not just to keep up a relentless pace within the narrative. It doesn’t flow at one speed, but ebbs and flows, so we are a jangled mess of nerves by the end, but ultimately we know that the ride is one we won’t forget. Criminality is shown in it many and varied forms, themes of mental illness are weaved in and out of heart rendering depictions of loss and the drive to seek revenge, but for what? Best of all, why is only ultimately revealed at the very last moment. There is nothing predictable about The Quiet People and that is why I loved it so much.

I heartily recommend it to all. Buy it for yourself, your family and then sit back and watch while they to become mesmerized by Paul Cleave masterful creation. There are monsters within, but only by reading it, will you discover who they are!

You can buy this novel from the publisher Orenda Books directly, or from Waterstones and Amazon.

About the author

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.

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