top of page
Top of Blog
wine patio book .jpg
  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Five Minutes Alone

five minutes alone

ISBN: 9781476779157

Publisher: Atria Books

Publication Date: 10/21/2014

Format: Other

Series: Christchurch Noir Crime Series

My Rating: 5 Stars +

In the latest thriller by the Edgar-nominated author of Joe Victim, someone is helping rape victims exact revenge on their attackers, prompting an edge-of-your-seat, cat-and-mouse chase between old friends, detectives Theodore Tate and Carl Schroder.

Carl Schroder and Theodore Tate, labeled “The Coma Cops” by the media, are finally getting their lives back into shape. Tate has returned to the police force and is grateful to be back at home with his wife, Bridget. For Schroder, things are neither good nor bad. The bullet lodged in his head from a shooting six months ago hasn’t killed him, but—almost as deadly—it’s switched off his emotions.

When the body of a convicted rapist is found, obliterated by an oncoming train, Tate works the case, trying to determine if this is murder or suicide. The following night, the bodies of two more rapists surface. It’s hard to investigate when everyone on the police force seems to be rooting for the killer.

There’s a common plea detectives get from the loved ones of victims: When you find the man who did this, give me five minutes alone with him. And that’s exactly what someone is doing. Someone is helping these victims get their five minutes alone. But when innocent people start to die, Tate and Schroder find themselves with different objectives, and soon they’re battling something they never would’ve expected—each other.

“Ferocious storytelling that makes you think and feel,” says The Listener (New Zealand). Smart, funny, and breathlessly suspenseful, Five Minutes Alone takes the definition of “crime thriller” to a whole new level.

My Review

FIVE MINUTES ALONE is the "best of the best"! A true gripping, riveting, intense, suspenseful fast-paced crime thriller. Brilliantly written, an award winning author, and predicted "crime thriller of the year!"

Set in Christchurch, New Zealand, someone is helping rape victims get revenge on their attackers. An intense, edge-of-your-seat, holding your breath, cat-and-mouse chase between old friends- detectives Theodore Tate and Carl Schroder. These two, labeled “The Coma Cops” by the media, are finally getting their lives back into shape (think again). Tate has returned to the police force and is grateful to be back at home with his wife, Bridget. For Schroder; life, not so much.

Meet a few of the main characters:

Detective Theodore (Theo) Tate has lived through a nightmare; however, what he is about to experience will be even worse. His daughter Emily has been killed, his wife, Bridget has lost part of her memory; and often thinks she is living in a world - three years prior to the accident. Theo cannot leave her alone, as she still sets a place at the breakfast table for their daughter. Formerly known as the Coma cop, serving time in jail due to a drunk driving accident, he is now back on the force with his partner Rebecca Kent, which has also been disfigured with tortures of her own.

Kelly Summers’ life changed five years ago and will never be the same. Her world intersected with Dwight Smith, a rapist cutting her face, and disfiguring her, inside and out; she still sees him creeping around every corner of her life, day and night. She fears every day and needs to stay numb with pills to keep the evil at a distance. Her worst nightmare comes true – Dwight is now out of prison.

Peter Crowley, was unable to protect his family. Years ago, his wife was brutally raped repeatedly by two brutal brothers, in front of their young daughter Monica. Unable to live with the past, it drove her to suicide. Even though years later, Peter has remarried, while Monica is now a troubled teen. At the time Peter begged for five minutes alone with the killers, willing to even pay for it. He was never granted the request. Now years later, the rapists are out of prison. Does he still want his five minutes, if given the choice?

Former ex-cop Carl Schroeder has seen it all and a man of many names. Over the last few years the city has had many criminals and he has been involved with them all. The Christchurch Carver, the Burial Killer, the Gran Reaper, even Melissa X. Every one of them a psychopath, a killer. There is the Old Him before he was fired, lost his job, his family, his life, and before he attained the scar, and a bullet lodged in his brain-a time bomb waiting to explode or dislodged which will kill him). The New Him (numb, he talks to Warren, a spider on his wall, he cannot taste anything, has no emotion, or social skills; he just eats to live, and to be honest, he does not care if he lives). Will getting even, provide him with motivation to move on and will he be a hero?

What if . . . every relative or close friend of a murder victim could be granted five minutes alone with the killer? Would it offer them closure, revenge? If granted, soon after the murder, or say, five, ten, or twenty years later? Would the outcome be any different? Would the anger still be fresh, or would time lessen the obsession? What would happen in those five minutes, if left alone with this murderer?

To further complicate, the new death penalty will brought back-will this change the level of violence in the country? The Old Him had been about men like Dwight Smith, and the Christchurch Carver and getting up every morning fighting a never ending fight, dedicating himself to the cause, against violence. What about the New Him?

However, when these criminals get put behind bars, they get out, in a few years, and then are free to kill again. Why should these criminals get a second chance? After all, he never got a second chance.

When rapists and killers begin to show up dead, there seems to be a connection. Could it be a cop or an inside job? It appears someone is one step ahead of the cops. Schroeder and Tate were a team in the past, after all, they have been through the good times and the bad together.

Could Schroeder be behind this madness? Is he playing God, has he completely lost it? He has to stop his friend, as he is out of control, as now the Five Minute Man is involving the past victims. However, one big problem; Schroeder has something on Tate – will he use this information to keep Tate from busting him? Blackmail . . . karma bites!

My first read by Paul Cleave, (was blown away), and could not purchase the previous books in the Christchurch Noir Crime Series, fast enough! Joe Victim, Cemetery Lake, The Cleaner, The Laughterhouse, Blood Men, Collecting Cooper and The Killing Hour, as dying to learn the background of these intriguing characters!

Not only is this suspense complex, it is thought-provoking, with impressive plotting and character development; just when you think it is winding down, bang, another twist is around the corner!

Five Minutes Alone, offers heart pounding intense and fast-paced suspense, leaving you page-turning desperately, into the wee hours of the morning, dying to learn the fate of these troubled and flawed characters, as you sympathize with them all.

Atria definitely knows how to crank out the winners: Forty Acres (7/14) and now Five Minutes Alone (10/14), and Scarred (11/14), three of my favorite thrillers for 2014!

A special thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Review Links

About the Author

Paul is an award winning author who often divides his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where his novels are set, and Europe, where none of his novels are set. His books have been translated into twenty languages. He’s won the Ngaio Marsh Award three times, the Saint-Maur book festival’s crime novel of the year award, and has been shortlisted for the Edgar and the Barry and the Ned Kelly. He’s thrown his Frisbee in over forty countries, plays tennis badly, golf even worse, and has two cats – which is often two too many. The Quiet People, a thriller about a husband and wife crime writing duo whose son is kidnapped, is his latest novel. WEBSITE






bottom of page