A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave

"How can you find monsters when they can live like anybody?"

A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of reading Paul Cleave's thriller Trust No One. In that novel, Cleave managed to inject a fresh perspective into the genre while still maintaining the elements that have made me such a fan. I really enjoyed that book and was anxiously awaiting a followup. When his publisher provided me a copy of Cleave's latest novel, A Killer Harvest, I jumped at the opportunity to read it.

The persistent string of misfortune in Joshua's life can come down to only one thing. His family is cursed. How else can the death of his mother and father be explained? Why has he been plagued by blindness? Some might say he's being dramatic, but Joshua has experienced a lot of trauma in his short life. That's why the death of the detective who raised him comes as little surprise. He was investigating the disappearance of a woman when the suspect murdered him. Joshua's Uncle Ben, who happens to be his dad's partner, brought quick justice and killed the suspect on the spot.

Out of the tragedy comes a miracle. Joshua's Dad had the dying wish to donate his working organs. His eyes, in particular, go to Joshua. When the bandages are finally removed, Joshua is able to see the world he's always lived in. He takes in the image of the woman who raised him, the doctor who cured him, and sees a photo of the man who's death afforded him new sight.

Joshua's new eyes also bring visions from his father. Cleave delves into the idea of cellular memory. Essentially, Joshua is able to see images that his dad saw because the cells in his eyes captured those moments. At first this ability reveals itself in harmless ways like recognizing people before they are introduced. Joshua soon begins to see more disturbing images. He bears wittiness to the kind of memories that cause him to question just how well he knew his father.

I'll be the first to admit some hesitance with this novel. If the premise sounds a bit far fetched, that's because it totally is. As I began reading, I was afraid that Cleave wouldn't be able to pull me in. Fortunately, he writes quick action with strong characters that are impossible to ignore. I quickly found my imagination gripping onto Cleave's story and rapidly turning the pages to see what would happen next. Cleave expertly mixes action beats with slower character development sections that give the novel an ever-mounting tinge of suspense. Each time I thought I had figured out the direction of the story, Cleave would throw a curve ball and sling the momentum into a new direction. With A Killer Harvest, Paul Cleave writes another contemporary thriller that is the kind of out of the box entertainment that I thoroughly enjoy.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.

(2017, 34)

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