Imaginative, action-packed and cleverly plotted: The Pain Tourist by Paul Cleave #bookreview #ThePainTourist #Orentober

A young man wakes from a coma to find himself targeted by the men who killed his parents, while someone is impersonating a notorious New Zealand serial killer … the latest chilling, nerve-shredding, twisty thriller from the author of The Quiet People…
James Garrett was critically injured when he was shot following his parents’ execution, and no one expected him to waken from a deep, traumatic coma. When he does, nine years later, Detective Inspector Rebecca Kent is tasked with closing the case that her now retired colleague, Theodore Tate, failed to solve all those years ago.
But between that, and hunting for Copy Joe – a murderer on a spree, who’s imitating Christchurch’s most notorious serial killer – she’s going to need Tate’s help … especially when they learn that James has lived out another life in his nine-year coma, and there are things he couldn’t possibly know, including the fact that Copy Joe isn’t the only serial killer in town…


Hi and welcome to my review of The Pain Tourist!

Oh my giddy aunt, what an adrenaline rush this was! I’ve been a Paul Cleave fan for quite a while now and with The Pain Tourist he proves yet again what an absolutely brilliant author he is. As a matter of fact, The Pain Tourist may very well be my favourite Paul Cleave to date, and that is saying something.

The Pain Tourist’s main plot is about James Garrett. Nine years ago, James and his family were the victims of a home invasion in which his parents were killed and he was so badly injured he ended up in a coma. No one expected him to wake up, but nine years later he does wake up and he opens a whole new can of worms by opening his eyes.

So first of all, the story follows James, what happened to him while he was in a coma, and what’s happening to him now, because he and his sister who managed to escape nine years earlier, might still be on the radar of the home invaders who killed their parents, them wanting to tie up loose ends.

A subplot derives from here, namely that James was really rather alert while he was in a coma and his doctor believes James may be on to something when he claims that another coma patient was in fact murdered instead of killed in a tragic accident. 

And then there’s another subplot in which a serial killer is on the loose, a copycat of the Christchurch Carver, whom you might remember from some of Paul Cleave’s earlier books. (I have to say, it was so much fun to hear from Joe the cleaner again! And on that note, the name Theodore Tate might ring a bell too.) 

I hope I haven’t convoluted things, because yes there are a number of storylines, and yes it’s all quite intricate, but the whole story is so well-plotted and cleverly written it never gets confusing in any way.

The Pain Tourist is incredibly imaginative. I am honestly in awe of what Paul Cleave imagines the mind of a coma patient might be like. It is all quite over the top, yet as you’re reading, there’s this sense of plausibility. Like yeah sure, you’ve never heard of anything like it but you might just read about it in next week’s paper, you know? In terms of medical topics, The Pain Tourist reminded me of this author’s A Killer Harvest, which was even more over the top, but in that same way that makes you not give two hoots about plausibility and possibility. (If you haven’t read it, do so ASAP!)

The Pain Tourist is positively riveting. If you like your thrillers action-packed, high-octane, suspenseful and cleverly plotted, here is where you start!

The Pain Tourist is out on 10 November. Pre-order directly from Orenda Books here.

Massive thanks to Orenda Books for the eARC. All opinions are my own.

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