Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful crime writers. They have been on the promotional circuit, 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 seven-year-old son Zach goes missing, 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?
Hi and welcome to my review of The Quiet People!
Imagine it’s almost Christmas and you take your seven-year-old kid to the fair. He’s not the easiest child, his teachers suspect he might be on the autism spectrum, but he’s yours and you love him even if that’s not always easy. Imagine that everything that could possibly go wrong does go wrong and your kid throws a tantrum and when you get home and you put him to bed, he says you don’t love him and he’s going to run away. You react stoically because not engaging is what works best when he says stuff like that, this is not your first rodeo. Imagine that when you get up in the morning, he really is gone. Naturally, you freak out. You call the cops and before long, they’re looking askance at you. And not only they, but the whole nation is looking askance at you and instead of fan mail, you start getting death threats. Welcome to the life of Cameron Murdoch.
But are you and your wife in fact the doting parents you proclaim to be? Or is there truth to the jokes you made in the past: that if anyone can concoct the perfect crime it’s crime writers, that you could get away with murder? After all, you are mid-list authors, you must be desperate for attention, something to crank up your sales.
Earlier this year, Paul Cleave’s Whatever It Takes knocked my socks off. I’ve been reading and listening my way through his backlist ever since, having a great time with each and every one, and I was chuffed when I found out Orenda Books would be publishing the next Cleave in the UK. High expectations? Me? No! Of course not! Ahem 😬
Fortunately I was still on leave when the gorgeous proof landed and I was able to dive right in. How to explain what I made of it, well, the New Zealand Herald sums it up nicely: “A cinematic, raging, rollercoaster of a plot with a wry humour … The Quiet People is wildly entertaining and will keep you guessing right to the end.”
The Quiet People is Cleave doing what he does best: take a fairly average situation and escalate it. Is it always 100% plausible? Probably not. Do I care? Not one iota. This book had me raging at some of the characters, it had me crying, I mean, seriously, Mr Cleave, next time just rip my heart from my chest and trample on it, I’m sure it would hurt less! I realise that probably doesn’t sound like a great reading experience, but it is, it is the best reading experience I’ve had in a while!
Alternating between the POV of Cameron Murdoch and Detective Kent, The Quiet People is a case study of Murphy’s Law in action. A simple mistake, a small negligence, a bad call, they snowball into an unstoppable avalanche of disaster. Things are misconstrued, people spiral and after a while, you can just feel the next catastrophe coming, your toes curl with the kind of anxious dread mixed with suspense only a really good thriller can evoke and what you actually want to do is read between your fingers but then how would you hold up your book and frantically turn the pages?!
The Quiet People is a masterclass in storytelling. Seriously, this is how it should be done! The tension is ramped up until it’s barely bearable. The pace is stepped up and kept up relentlessly. By the end, I felt like I’d run a marathon! Again, this may not seem like the best reading experience, but just trust me when I tell you it is!
I had an absolutely brilliant time with The Quiet People and I highly recommend it to any and all crime fiction fans who are looking for a book that shakes up the genre.
The Quiet People is out now in eBook, with the paperback to follow in November. (Pre)order directly from Orenda Books here.
Massive thanks to Orenda Books for the gorgeous proof! All opinions are my own.