Publication: NZ BookLovers

When you pick up any novel by Paul Cleave you can always cherish that moment of innocence before you open the first page – that moment where (if you have read any of Cleave’s previous novels) you take an anticipatory breath, knowing nothing else other than that you will be in for a wild and crazy ride – a ride that doesn’t stop until the final page of the book.

With the release of Cleave’s latest novel Five Minutes Alone, he once again manages to drop the reader right into the fray – in this case the mind of Kelly Summers, a mind fraught by the memories of a brutal attack on her by her neighbour, Dwight Smith, who has been jailed for doing “some very unneighbourly things to her.” When Dwight shows up again in a very sinister Deja-vu in Kelly’s bathroom, you would expect things to go from bad to worse – this is exactly the point where Cleave changes the script, and introduces the crux on which the plot of this novel revolves, namely, who should be allowed to make and execute judgements of life and death, and is there ever such a thing as a justified murder?

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