Jerry Grey, 49 years old, lives in Christchurch, New Zealand and writes popular mystery/crime novels under the pseudonym Henry Cutter. Jerry has a lovely wife Sandra and a beloved daughter Eva. He also has early onset Alzheimer's disease, a devastating illness that will soon steal away all Jerry's memories.
In an attempt to hold on to some bits of himself as his brain deteriorates Jerry keeps a journal, addressed to 'future Jerry', detailing aspects of his daily life. These include preparations for his daughter Eva's upcoming wedding, hiding bottles of gin - and a gun - from his wife Sandra, his conviction that Sandra is sleeping with every man she meets, anger at his illness, visits from old friends, and more.
As Jerry's Alzheimer's clouds his brain he begins to confuse his real life with the plots of his books. Thus, as the story opens Jerry knows he's in a police station and thinks he's being questioned by detectives. In the interrogation room Jerry fantasizes about seducing the female detective and confesses to murdering a girl name Suzan. As it turns out Jerry has escaped from his residential nursing home and the 'female detective' is his daughter Eva, come to take him back. Moreover, Jerry is taking credit for a crime committed in one of his books.
As it turns out, people ARE being killed in Christchurch. And the murders seem to occur on days when Jerry sneaks out of his nursing home. Before long, Jerry becomes a suspect. This is one of those books where anything said about the central plot is a spoiler so I'll say no more about the killings.
Aside from that though, the book provides (what seems like) a realistic picture of the toll of Alzheimer's Disease. Told in the first person, the story jumps back and forth in time, flits from one thought/observation to another, and demonstrates the confusion in Jerry's mind. Jerry has frequent conversations with his alter ego Henry Cutter, 'wakes up' not knowing where he is, can't remember his escapes from the residential facility, doesn't recall where he lives, and so on. It's impossible not to feel bad for Jerry and to admire his struggles to leave behind some bits of himself in his journals.
There's an array of interesting characters in this page turner, and I was caught up in the story - wanting to know what was real and what was just in Jerry's mind, and anxious to discover what was going on in Christchurch.
A good psychological thriller, recommended to mystery fans.
Rating: 3.5 stars