Book Title: A Killer Harvest
Author: Paul Cleave
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Genres: Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Crime Fiction
Date Read: 05/16/17
Pub Date: 08/01/17
Joshua is convinced there is a family curse. It’s taken away his biological parents, robbed him of his eyesight, and is the reason his father Logan, the detective who raised him, is killed while investigating the homicide of a young woman. The suspect, Simon Bowers, is killed by Logan’s partner Ben, whose intentions are murkier than expected.
After this tragedy Joshua is handed an opportunity he can’t refuse: a new pair of eyes. But a mishap during the surgery leads to Joshua unknowingly getting one eye from his father, and the other from Simon. As Joshua navigates a world of sight, he gets glimpses of what his eyes might have witnessed in their previous life. Memories, truths, and lies Joshua discovers a world darker than the one he has emerged from. What else has he failed to see?
Meanwhile, Simon’s accomplice Vincent is bent on revenge, going after the loved ones of those involved in Simon’s death and Vincent is drawing closer and closer to Joshua.
Have you ever discovered an author that you felt was immensely talented but widely under appreciated? This is exactly how I feel regarding Paul Cleave. Don’t let the description suggest that this book contains a B-rated story; it’s precisely the opposite. I’m glad the cover includes the insinuation of cellular memory in the description, as I think many readers would be turned off if this was somehow the big twist of the book. Knowing that going in led me to open my imagination and suspend my need for a realistic plot. If you can do that, you might have the same 5 star experience that I did while reading A Killer Harvest.
So yes, cellular memory is the backbone of the theme of this novel, but it’s just a fraction of what makes this book so neat. Cleave has taken care in crafting a story that is both complex and layered, thus revealing a web of multiple POV snippets that complete the big picture. The first few chapters really gripped my attention, followed by about 25% character building scenes with a slow burning suspense. This worked REALLY well for me, as I’ve been craving contemporary mystery/thrillers with a combination of the slow burn and high action. There are quite a few characters in this story, which made me appreciate the way the author chose to ensure we had all the important details down and a connection to our characters before yanking the chain and pulling us quickly through the remainder of the book. I read 75% of this book in one sitting; I literally didn’t even break for the bathroom or food. GO CHELSEA!
I was also extremely pleased with the pacing between twists, big and small. There were lots of smaller AHA moments alongside major, jaw dropping twists, and I can honestly say I didn’t see the biggest reveal during the final 100 pages. I’m still trying to shove my tongue back in my mouth and force myself to blink. If you are like me and are tired of thrillers that boast a Gone Girl level twist which the entire plot depends upon, you’re in luck! A Killer Harvest is not one of those tales; the twists are fantastic and unexpected, but the relationships and emotions between the characters are what really drew me in to caring about what happened, more so than figuring out the ending. Speaking of, no spoilers here, but I REALLY love how he chose to end this book. Let’s just say it gave me the heebie jeebies and the creepy crawlies. 🙂
I haven’t had the pleasure of reading Cleave’s series yet, but if it’s anything like A Killer Harvest then I’ll need to read them stat. The cover gives off such a creepy vibe and really portrays the tone of the book well. I think readers who are looking for a little variety in their thrillers will appreciate what the author has created with this story; while cellular memory has become quite a popular theme amongst psychological thrillers and mysteries recently, I feel this one stands out due to the sheer fact the author had me constantly questioning “But what if this COULD happen?” This book was able to take a science fiction like topic and ground it as a contemporary story unlike any I’ve read before. Highly recommended to the reader who is looking to expand their appetite for delicious thrillers and add a little variety to their TBR stacks. I can’t wait to find out if this book thrills you the way it did me!
*Many thanks to Atria Mystery Bus for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here on the blog.
Paul Cleave is an internationally bestselling author who is currently dividing his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where all of his novels are set, and Europe, where none of his novels are set. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. He has won the Ngaio Marsh award for best crime novel in New Zealand, he won the Saint-Maur book festival’s crime novel of the year in France, has been shortlisted for the Edgar Award and the Barry Award in the US, and shortlisted for the Ned Kelly award in Australia. When he’s not writing, he spends his time swearing on a golf course, swearing on a tennis court, or trying to add to his list of 25 countries where he’s thrown his Frisbee.