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Friday, August 11, 2017

#CJSReads REVIEW: A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave @atriabooks @paulcleave @atriamysterybus

A Killer Harvest
by Paul Cleave
Atria Books 

A moderately paced medical thriller based on the Cellular Memory theory - utterly fascinating and chock full of twisty goodness.  See why we all gave this book FIVE STARS!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A new thriller from the Edgar-nominated author of Trust No Oneand Joe Victim about a blind teenager who receives new eyes through corneal donation and begins to see and feel memories that he believes belong to the previous owners a detective and a serial killer. 

Joshua is convinced there is a family curse. It's taken away his biological parents, robbed him of his eyesight, and is the reason his father Logan, the detective who raised him, is killed while investigating the homicide of a young woman. The suspect, Simon Bowers, is killed by Logan's partner Ben, whose intentions are murkier than expected. 

After this tragedy Joshua is handed an opportunity he can't refuse: a new pair of eyes. But a mishap during the surgery leads to Joshua unknowingly getting one eye from his father, and the other from Simon. As Joshua navigates a world of sight, he gets glimpses of what his eyes might have witnessed in their previous life. Memories, truths, and lies Joshua discovers a world darker than the one he has emerged from. What else has he failed to see? 

Meanwhile, Simon's accomplice Vincent is bent on revenge, going after the loved ones of those involved in Simon's death and Vincent is drawing closer and closer to Joshua. 
Thriller virtuoso Paul Cleave is back with another riveting story of hidden secrets and unspeakable horrors that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.

My Review:

Joshua Logan is cursed.  He was born blind, his biological parents died when he was a baby and his aunt and uncle became his new parents, whom he calls mom and dad.  When his dad is killed in the line of duty, his one wish is for his eyes to go to his son so that he can finally see the world.  The surgery is a success but he starts seeing more than he expected.  Cellular memory can refer to a variation of body memory, the pseudoscientific hypothesis that memories can be stored in individuals and there are cases of personality changes or cravings from people who have had organs donated.  Sometimes these memories and changes are not for the better....

Paul Cleave has quite the imagination.  I previously started reading Trust No One but couldn't quite get into that story.  Will definitely need to revisit it because A Killer Harvest takes off right from the get go.  The short chapters keep you turning page after page and it's a hard story to put down.  It certainly makes it more interesting as the Cellular Memory theory is just that... a theory and no one really knows for sure if it's a real thing or not.  I've definitely heard stories in the past regarding this and always found the subject matter fascinating.  To have it put to life in a thriller made my dark heart beat a little faster.  At one point I actually forgot about a nuance in the story and when it came back into the story line I was like YES... I can't believe I forgot about that part!  And then he went just a little bit further.  A little bit of sci-fi based on a quasi-real phenomena that no one really knows if it exists or not, topped with a twisty thriller with serial killer elements.  Total addictive read.

Jessica's Thoughts:

As another shock, I haven't read any Paul Cleave before (first Mary Kubica, then Karin Slaughter, and now this!) I will definitely be picking up more of his books. A KILLER HARVEST is about Joshua who is blind, but after receiving a new pair of eyes he quickly realizes that something has gone horribly wrong.
Joshua is a teenage boy who is convinced that he is cursed. His biological parents are gone, he is blind, and his father, Logan, a detective that took him in is killed. Logan was a detective working on a homicide case - Simon Bowers was the suspect of the young woman's death. The investigation ends in tragedy, with both Logan and Simon being killed. 

After all is said and done, Joshua is presented with the opportunity to get a new pair of eyes. Of course he can't turn this down. However, there was a mishap during surgery and he ended up receiving an eye from Logan and one from Simon. Talk about crazy! As he adjusts to life with sight, he begins to get murky visions of what he believes to have been witnessed in their previous lives. Now Joshua must try to distinguish between what is truth and what are lies. Is he really seeing memories from the previous owners? As he tries to make sense of all of this, he realizes that he's in grave danger. Vincent, Simon's old partner, is hell bent on seeking vengeance for his partner's death. Is Joshua the new target? 

This medical thriller meets sci-fi was packed with action! The characters are complex and well developed. The book is told from the perspective of Joshua, despite the narrator being a teenager, there isn't a YA feel. This novel has a fast pace and you'll find yourself binging on this one in one sitting (if I hadn't had plans where I had to leave the book at home, I definitely would have!). I loved how everything tied in at the end, lately it seems like some thrillers have a lackluster ending or a predictable one, not this one! The idea of cellular memory is eerie. Is this possible? Cleave does a great job making this story feel real and make the reader question these medical possibilities. Reminded me of the Jessica Alba movie, The Eye (only she saw ghosts).  

If you want a page turning and addictive thriller, then look no further! A KILLER HARVEST needs to be on your TBR list for the summer. 

I give this 5/5 stars!

Sam's Thoughts:

Believe it or not, I have never read a Paul Cleave novel before!  I know, I know, from what I hear, I am seriously missing out.  I was pretty pumped when #cjsreads decided to pick up A Killer Harvest, the newest publication by Paul Cleave for one of our August reads.    Chelsea, my good friend from The Suspense Is Thrilling Me, had raved about this one to me months ago so I was going in with pretty high expectations.  I am glad to report that this novel met (and surpassed!) all my expectations.  I binge read this one over the course of a few hours and was left with a serious book hangover.

Sort of a mix between sci-fi, thriller, and mystery, Cleave weaves a seriously addicting novel from the first pages.  A detective is killed in the line of duty and his murderer (a known serial killer) is also killed.  Hours later, a blind teenager, Joshua, goes into surgery to receive a set of eyes to try and restore his vision; after a mishap, the teenager receives his sight after obtaining one eye from the detective and the other from the serial killer.  As Joshua gains his sight, he begins to recognize people he shouldn’t recognize (after all he has never seen them before) and seeing memories from someone else’s life, leading him to realize that perhaps he is dealing with cellular memory.   As Joshua begins to discover what this means, and another murderer hell bent on avenging his partner’s death, Joshua finds himself in grave danger.

Crazy, right??

I loved how this novel sort of had a sci-fi, medical thriller vibe but it was extremely realistic.  Could this potentially happen in real life?  Maybe?  I’m not sure but it absolutely had me thinking there was a truth to be told.  Cleave has a serious honesty about his writing that had me hooked. I loved the characters and found Joshua extremely likeable and relatable, even as a young adult character.   The story never felt young or over exaggerated (which is a problem I often find in adult literature with a YA narrator).  Cleave was able to find a perfect balance.

This book was non-stop action and I found myself violently flipping pages as I devoured this novel.  The ending was my absolute favourite.   I loved how Cleave chose to tie all the various storylines together.

Overall, I would highly recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys a fast paced, thrilling read.  I gave it 5/5 stars.  

Big thank you to Atria Books for these copies in return for our honest opinions.

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