Desperate for reward money – and to rescue his marriage – an embattled sheriff takes incalculable risks to find a missing boy. An edge-of-your-seat, twisted and twisty thriller from New Zealand’s King of Crime.
To catch a killer… Maybe you’ve got to be one…
Acacia Pines, USA. Sheriff Cohen’s life is falling apart – his father accidentally burned down the retirement home, his wife has moved out, and his son is bullying other kids at school. When high-school student, Lucas Connor, is abducted, Cohen sees a chance to get his life back on track – to win back his wife and scoop the reward money offered for Lucas’s safe return. But as the body count rises, it becomes clear that Cohen’s going to have to make the kind of decision from which there’s no coming back … a decision with deadly consequences…
A furiously paced, edge-of-your-seat thriller exposing the dark underbelly of small-town life, His Favourite Graves is also a twisted and twisty story of father-and-son relationships, and the one last gamble of a desperate man to save everything…
Hi and welcome to my review of His Favourite Graves and can I just say holy smokes, I don’t think I was ready for this!
I could say the blurb had me at “exposing the dark underbelly of small-town life” but to be perfectly honest, they had me at the author’s name. I don’t even care what the blurb says, if it’s a Cleave I’ll read it. I swear that man could create an engrossing read from his grocery list.
I won’t go into the details of the plot, cos spoilers. I’ll just say that I had the same feeling I often have when reading this author’s work, the feeling that what’s happening is just a liiiiiittle too over-the-top to still be entirely plausible. But while that can bother me with other authors, there is just something about Paul Cleave’s writing that makes me not give two hoots about plausibility. I just dive in, with a bring-it-on attitude. And boy, did he bring it on 😂 With this author, I never end up where I thought I might, and I love that!
I set out loathing one character and sympathising with another. But then Cleave blurs the line between good and bad and I started pitying the character I hated at first, as well as hating the one I liked and sympathised with in the beginning. I had to remind myself of past actions and events, as well as motives, to be able to read on, because there were some deeply disturbing scenes, and I felt very conflicted. Yes, I’m deliberately being vague. All I can say is, His Favourite Graves is highly thought-provoking in that you can’t help but ask yourself what you would do in some of these characters’ shoes. This would make an excellent book group book, the discussions would never end!
His Favourite Graves often made me go “oh no” in fear of what I suspected might happen. If it were a film, I’d probably watch half of it between my fingers 😅 But since it’s terribly difficult to read that way and I did need to know what would happen and whether or not my fears would come true, I had to get a grip and keep at it.
And then there are a few literally jaw-dropping moments when everything goes topsy-turvy and all I could think was “no bloody way”! And although I hadn’t seen those moments coming AT ALL, they did make a weird sort of sense, like maybe I could have or should have seen them coming. Like all the signs were there but I glossed over them, brushing them off, not realising they were important bits of information. Speaking in riddles again, aren’t I? Would you just please read this book!
For me, His Favourite Graves has all the perks of a popcorn thriller with the added bonus of touching upon some very serious topics, such as the devastating consequences of dementia and the equally devastating consequences of bullying. It’s both entertaining and harrowing, simultaneously heartbreaking and gruesome, and riveting throughout. It’s pitch-black and brutal and I loved it. I would definitely recommend it to crime thriller fans, although perhaps less to the faint of heart or readers with a weak stomach.
His Favourite Graves is out on 9 November. Pre-order it directly from Orenda Books here.
Massive thanks to Orenda Books for the digital proof. All opinions are my own.