cover image Five Minutes Alone

Five Minutes Alone

Paul Cleave. Atria, $16 trade paper (464p) ISBN 978-1-4767-7915-7

What if the desire of relatives of murder victims to have five minutes alone with the killer were taken seriously? That fascinating idea is at the heart of New Zealand author Cleave’s fiendishly twisted thriller, the fourth starring Det. Insp. Theodore Tate (after 2012’s The Laughterhouse). Tate has been put through the wringer: his daughter was killed by a drunk driver in an accident that left his wife with memory issues; he himself only recently emerged from a coma. When Dwight Smith, a convicted rapist fresh out of prison, is found in pieces near a railroad track in a Christchurch suburb, it appears he has committed suicide. Surveillance footage, however, reveals that Smith had been stalking Kelly Summers, the woman he raped, and when Tate visits her home, he finds evidence implicating her in her assailant’s death. The truth is beyond complex, and Cleave’s masterful plotting skills are matched with superior pacing and characterization. Agent: Jane Gregory, Gregory and Company. (Oct.)