A Book Spy Review: ‘A Killer Harvest’ by Paul Cleave

A Killer harvest.jpgPaul Cleave follows his 2015 hit thriller, Trust No One, with another heart-thumping novel that features numerous twists, turns, and jaw-dropping moments. 

Set in Christchurch, New Zealand, Cleave’s latest offering introduces readers to Joshua Logan, a sixteen-year-old kid who was born blind. Joshua’s had a rough life. Very rough. His dad died before he was born, and his mother died not long after he was born into darkness. Eventually, he was taken in by Mitchell Logan, a cop who–like far too many people in Joshua’s life–dies unexpectedly. 

Mitchell and his partner were after a crazed and violent killer who used power tools on his victims. While pursuing the killer on foot, Mitchell, his partner, and the man they were chasing are killed. While the loss for Joshua is great, there’s a silver lining. Mr. Logan had made plans, should something happen to him, to have ophthalmologist Toni Coleman attempt a very cutting-edge new surgery that would transplant his eyes into Joshua. 

While the surgery is technically a success, in that Joshua can now see for the first time in his life, it doesn’t go quite according to plan. A careless mix-up causes Joshua numerous problems, which he struggles to understand and deal with. 

To make the plot work, Cleave weaves cellular memory into the forefront of his hair-raising story. Being fitted with someone else’s eyes allows Joshua to see the world from their point of view. Likewise, over time, he begins to have thoughts, feelings, and memories that he believes come from the organs’ original hosts. After his initial struggles, it’s revealed early on that an orderly mistakenly caused Joshua to receive one eye from his foster dad, and another from the killer he was chasing. (Note: this isn’t a spoiler, as the book deals with Joshua’s learning to balance the two ways he now sees the world–through the eyes of good and evil.)

As Joshua struggles to adapt, dealing also with common teenage problems that all kids in school inevitably go through at some point in their life, a larger problem arises. Simon, the killer Mitchell Logan was after, had a partner named Vincent, who is hellbent on exacting revenge–putting Joshua’s life in danger. 

While the plot might sound ridiculous, Cleave pulls off what few others can. Rather than his book feeling unbelievable, A Killer Harvest is ridiculously fun–and the many twists and well-timed reveals will keep readers glued to their reading chairs. 

Cleave, whose 2013 novel Joe Victim was an Edgar-finalist, has long been underappreciated. While Trust No One (2015) is every bit as dark and chilling as Gone Girl, A Killer Harvest is one of Cleave’s most creative and well-executed thrillers yet. 

Book Details

Author: Paul Cleave
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1501153013
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10
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