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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Quiet People

ISBN: 978-1913193942

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication Date: 03/01/2022

Format: e-book, audio, paperback

My Rating: 5 Stars +

Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful crime writers. They have been on the promotional circuit, joking that no one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living.

So when their seven-year-old son Zach goes missing, the police and the public naturally wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time…

Are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime?


"The psychological depth of the leads bolsters the complex plot. This merits comparison with the work of Patricia Highsmith"

—Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"Involving, wrought with tension and, at times, genuinely terrifying. And yet retains a sense of humour ... First class thriller writing, intelligent and heart stopping."

—NB Magazine

"A true page-turner, with an intriguing premise, a rollercoaster plot and a cast of believably flawed characters."


"A cinematic, raging, rollercoaster of a plot with a wry humour … The Quiet People is wildly entertaining and will keep you guessing right to the end."

—New Zealand Herald

"A superb novel from a champion storyteller."

—Crime Watch

"Cleave writes the kind of dark, intense thrillers that I never want to end. Do yourself a favour and check him out."

—Simon Kernick

Praise for Paul Cleave

"Tense, thrilling, touching. Paul Cleave is very good indeed."

—John Connolly

"Compelling, dark, and perfectly paced, New Zealand writer Cleave’s psychological thriller explores the evil lurking in us all, working relentless magic until the very last page."


"Relentlessly gripping, deliciously twisted and shot through with a vein of humour that’s as dark as hell."

—Mark Billingham

"Uses words as lethal weapons."

—New York Times

"An intense adrenaline rush from start to finish’."

—S J Watson

"A riveting and all too realistic thriller."

—Tess Gerritsen

"A gripping thriller …I couldn’t put it down’

—Meg Gardiner

"This very clever novel did my head in time and again."

—Michael Robotham

"Cleave’s whirligig plot mesmerises."


"This thriller is one to remember."

—New York Journal of Books

"On almost every page, this outstanding psychological thriller forces the reader to reconsider what is real."

—Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Cleave’s whirligig plot mesmerises."

—People Magazine

"[A] superior thriller…This merits comparison with the work of Patricia Highsmith." — Publishers Weekly Starred Review

My Review

Wow! Superb. Razor Sharp. Hilarious. Unputdownable!

Oh, how I have missed my favorite New Zealand author, PAUL CLEAVE. His humor, cleverness, and brilliant crime writing are like no other! He is the best crime writer around and I always look forward to his books.

When they stopped carrying his books in the US, I was devastated. I recently learned THE QUIET PEOPLE was out in the US (not sure how I missed it); however, when seeing a blurb he had written for the upcoming Chris Gill's Boy Fallen (3/22/22) also from New Zealand (next on my list), I discovered Paul's paperback was coming out March 1st — THE QUIET PEOPLE.

Of course, I could not wait and immediately purchased the audiobook and e-book. Audio narrated by the fabulous Kris Dyer for an award-winning performance. (He is an excellent narrator).

OK, let's talk about this book—A CRACKERJACK! Can crime writers get away with MURDER?

Haven't you wondered about crime writers? They know how to set up the perfect murder, right? They know the ins and outs of cops and legalities. Are they capable of doing so? Motive?

Meet husband and wife authors: Cameron and Lisa Murdoch from Christchurch, New Zealand. They are bestselling crime thriller writers and have often joked about outsmarting the police. But tragedy hits close to home.

Zach, their seven-year-old son (who has some ADD issues and anger problems goes missing. He had been saying he was going to run away, like most kids when they do not get their way.

There happened to be events earlier in the day before the night Zach goes missing with Cameron. Are they connected? Is he being set up? These are quite hilarious but not so much for Cameron. They contact the police and soon the couple is of course the prime suspect.

The tension mounts and then another author/journalist from their past who is quite jealous of the Murdochs (once accused him of stealing a storyline) but unfounded, goes viral with allegations that fuel the fire with social media.

It appears Cameron was abusive, but strange how things are twisted. He loves his son, so where is Zach? Cameron imagines how he will be more patient when he gets his son back and places they will go and see.

However, is there something more sinister going on? What about the wife? Where is Zack and who took him. Is he dead or alive?


Cleave, as always knows how to create conflict and balance with his fantastic dry humor, which makes for a killer crime thriller. PS I was in Costco with my Apple Airpods and laughing out loud!

This is a must-read for Cleave fans and for fans of Linwood Barclay, Karin Slaughter, Kaira Rouda, and Michael Robotham (all favorites). He checks all the boxes of what I look for in a crime thriller. If you do not have humor, missing out.

If you have read the new debut, Chloe Cates Is Missing, you will see how the media treats celebrities and will note some similarities. (Chloe is a teen YouTube sensation with an obsessed mom and goes missing-both parents have major secrets). Of course, the parents are prime suspects. Whereas THE QUIET PEOPLE is about a young boy who goes missing with popular crime authors as parents. You will smile when you read both, the plot, and the whodunit.

I also enjoy how Paul weaves references from his past books into this one: Five Minutes Alone (a top book), and The Laughterhouse.

If you are new to Paul Cleave, you must read his backlist. He always lands on my top books of the year. An award-winning author, he is the BEST! My first book by Paul was Five Minutes Alone when it came out. Immediately, I grabbed his backlist and any future books.

Highly recommend Five Minutes Alone,Trust No One, A Killer Harvest, Joe Victim, The Laughterhouse, Blood Men, Cemetery Lake, The Killing Hour, The Cleaner, and I just finished Whatever it takes which is another good one (review coming). So happy to have his books back in the US and on audio!

If you have read an ARC of the upcoming May 24, 2022 Hannah Mary McKinnon's Never Coming Home (another devious whip-smart LOL thriller just finished this weekend with upcoming Q&A in May) you will undoubtedly enjoy THE QUIET PEOPLE.

Publishers Weekly compares Cleave's novels to Patricia Highsmith and check out all the rave reviews from Lee Child, Linwood Barclay, and trade pubs—Trust me, believe the hype, and then some!

GREAT JOB, Paul. Readers, you do not want to miss this one!

My Rating: 5/5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Pub Date: 01 March 2022 (paperback)

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 over 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.



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