Jerry Grey is known to most of the world by his crime writing pseudonym, Henry Cutter—a name that has been keeping readers at the edge of their seats for more than a decade. Recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of forty-nine, Jerry’s crime writing days are coming to an end. His twelve books tell stories of brutal murders committed by bad men, of a world out of balance, of victims finding the darkest forms of justice. As his dementia begins to break down the wall between his life and the lives of the characters he has created, Jerry confesses his worst secret: The stories are real. He knows this because he committed the crimes. Those close to him, including the nurses at the care home where he now lives, insist that it is all in his head, that his memory is being toyed with and manipulated by his unfortunate disease. But if that were true, then why are so many bad things happening? Why are people dying?
This is another one of those books that I read a few months ago but still absolutely love in retrospect. It definitely ranks on the list of most clever books ever written.
There were multiple moments in this book where I thought I had figured the story out just to have my mind blown. I was kind of frustrated, actually, at how I thought I knew everything just to have everything twisted on my head. I don’t enjoy a lot of mysteries/crime, but this was thrilling and very well written.
The plot holds up very well. We’re slowly introduced to Jerry and we get to know and like him before we learn what he might have done and how he is in the present. This serves to make us feel as he does—worried, concerned, facing the unknown. He also seems very humane and this adds to the tension of the story.
This book is written in alternating perspectives—half through the ‘Madness Journal’ that Jerry starts writing to himself in order to remember all of the events and half through a third person look at Jerry’s life now and how he’s seeing his surroundings and the events going on.
The characterization is fantastic. Jerry tells himself about how he sees people that are close to him like Eva and Sandra as well as neighbours and such. He has a very strong voice and he is quite humorous—he feels like someone I’m really meeting.
There’s some very clever wordplay and small details that give a lot of insight into what it might be like to have Alzheimer’s that I really appreciated--this isn't a perspective we often get to read.
This book was intriguing and made me feel. I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I’d finished it.
I received a free copy of this book through an internship.