Book Review: Trust No One by Paul Cleave


Trust No One has that ‘book within a book’ vibe to it, so I was excited when we chose it as our February Criminally Good Book Club read.

From the back cover:

Most of the world knows Jerry Grey by his crime writing pseudonym, Henry Cutter – a name that has been keeping readers at the edge of their seats for more than a decade. But now he’s been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at the age of forty-nine, Jerry’s career is coming to an abrupt end.

His twelve books tell stories of brutal murders, of a world out of balance, of victims finding the darkest forms of justice. As his dementia continues to break down the wall between his real life and the lives of the characters, Jerry confesses his most terrible secret: the stories are real. He committed the crimes himself. His family, friends, caretakers insist that it’s all in his head, just a side effect of the devastating disease – but is it?

One of the most talented and trailblazing suspense writers at work today, Edgar-nominated author Paul Cleave takes us down a dark and clever path to determine the fine line between simple fact and dangerous fiction.

My Thoughts:

This book does indeed contain a ‘book within a book’ – the chapters alternate between Jerry in the present day, living in a care home, and his entries into his ‘Madness Journal’, which he wrote when he was first diagnosed.

I thought this book started of slow but that’s understandable give the type of story it is, it’s a subtle thriller. Interestingly, the pace didn’t pick up at all, there was a slight build-up of tension but, for me, this book seriously lacked in action. It took until I reach page 103 for me to breathe a sigh of relief, I believe my sticky tab read ‘finally something to grab my attention.’ Four pages later, my sticky tab read ‘some much needed humour.’ Sadly, I did not enjoy this book as much as I hoped. It did have some little twists and turns but as the plot didn’t pull me in, I didn’t mind who did or didn’t do what, so no matter the ending, I didn’t mind, I wasn’t invested in the story enough.

What I was invested in, however, was Jerry’s entries into his ‘Madness Journal.’ Jerry, having been recently diagnosed with Dementia, writing to his future self was a fantastic and original concept.

Overall, I can appreciate what Cleaver has created with this book but on the whole, it just didn’t work for me. If you enjoyed Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, I’m confident you’ll enjoy this one too. My concluding thought on this book was – it’s a better version of Elizabeth is Missing.

Here’s the strange thing, while I didn’t enjoy the story, I couldn’t stop reading it, I don’t know if that was due to the writing style, it being a book club read so I wanted to finish it to join in the discussion, or I was hoping for a moment that pulled me into the story – possibly a combination of all three. Either way, it wasn’t a struggle to finish, I wasn’t reading it wishing the story would hurry up and end. It was a rather odd reading experience and I honestly don’t know what to make of it.

On that rather peculiar note, here’s some reviews from fellow book club members (that hopefully make more sense than mine):

Julie – Novel Thrills & Chills

Kourtney – Kourtney’s Bookshelf

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

24 thoughts on “Book Review: Trust No One by Paul Cleave

  1. I’ve read a similar review, so I don’t think I’ll be picking up this one :/ But I know what you mean about not enjoying it that much but reading compulsively!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes a book just doesn’t work for us. I must say the lack of a faster pace, or maybe stronger plots might have the same effect on me, probably because I expect all thrillers to keep me at the edge of my seat in a similar way. The idea behind the story is really good and the fact you couldn’t stop reading despite the flaws you found tells me it might deserve a check from me 🙂

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    1. It’s definitely not an edge-of-your-seat thriller, I’m honestly baffled by the whole experience because I wasn’t a fan of the story and wouldn’t really recommend the book but it was compulsive to read, I read it in, I think, 2 sittings. I’ll be interested to see what you make of it.


    1. Haha yes that’s true, I’m quite annoyed though because I bought the paper copy of this book and it was not cheap, I paid £13 for it, I think that also added to my frustration! But yes, not a book I’d be in a hurry to recommend

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So… it’s confession time – I haven’t read this one! I bought it, and fully intended to read it, but it’s been a busy month with review copies, and I didn’t quite get round to it. I had high hopes for this, so it’s a shame you didn’t enjoy it. I’m not sure whether to read it at all now…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Don’t worry – it won’t be the first time I’ve bought a book and not read it, and it won’t be the last time, either 😀 Reading the two reviews you’ve linked to, I’m feeling more inclined to give this one a miss… I think that you’ll enjoy March’s read though – I really liked His Bloody Project 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve read His Bloody Project already, but the co-hosts really wanted to read it so we put it in the vote, so I get a free month (I’ll pick a book off my shelf and have a bookclub with one member haha) but I am looking forward to Aprils read, Perfect Days.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! I’m going away for a week in April, so will read it then. I try not to read review books on holiday – it’s completely, selfishly me time – so I’ll have no excuses 😃

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t read Elizabeth Is Missing yet but I think I have it on my ereader, I’m not in a hurry now to read it after reading your review.. I’ve had that experience too in the past, not really liking the book all that much but still feeling compelled to read on :-). Sorry to hear this one was a bit of a miss for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The premise behind this book sounds so interesting but the execution seems to be lacking. I don’t think I’ll be picking this one up even though books like this are right up my alley!

    Liked by 1 person

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