The Quiet People

Paul Cleave. Orenda (IPG, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (276p) ISBN 978-1-913193-94-2
Writers Cameron and Lisa Murdoch, the couple at the center of this superior thriller set in Christchurch, New Zealand, from Cleave (Whatever It Takes), have jokingly boasted that they’d be able to outsmart the police, based on their cleverness in plotting bestselling crime fiction. Then their seven-year-old son, Zach, whose problems dealing with frustration make him a handful, goes missing the morning after he said he planned to run away. The Murdochs call the police, but the authorities soon come to believe that the disappearance was involuntary, and Cameron and Lisa become suspected of killing their child, who was both a financial and emotional burden. The pressures increase when a disgraced journalist and would-be novelist, who once accused the Murdochs of stealing a story line, goes public with allegations that Cameron abused Zach and out-of-context video interview clips that present the two as conscienceless fiends. Sections from Cameron’s perspective humanize him even as Cleave keeps readers guessing as to the Murdochs’ culpability and Zach’s fate. The psychological depth of the leads bolsters the complex plot. This merits comparison with the work of Patricia Highsmith. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 12/22/2021
Release date: 03/01/2022
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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