Before Covid kicked off, we went up north for a family holiday. While we were based in Paihia, we stopped at Waipu on our way home. It is where my grandmother came from, and there’s quite a bit of Mackay family history in the local museum. It’s a beautiful spot, as is the nearby beach of Ruakaka. We went there for a wedding some years ago and have always intended to return.
EXCERPT: As Waverley and Woodley make their way through the house, Lisa and myself get to work phoning everybody. We have similar conversations – ‘Hi, it’s Cameron/Hi, it’s Lisa, Zach has run away, have you seen him? Please let us know if you do. No, I’m sure he’s fine. No, I’m sure it’s just kids being kids. Yes, we’ll let you know when he’s back.’ – We do this, and the police officers look into the nooks and crannies of our house, all the places a small child could hide, and I suspect all the places a small child could be hidden – I’m not oblivious to the fact that when small children go missing, it’s the parents the police first suspect. The patrol car that escorted me earlier is now parked opposite the house. Original High Jumper and Original Wrestler are talking to the neighbours, all of whom are easy to find since they’re outside watching what’s going on. Another car pulls up and a man in a suit gets out, probably one of the detectives. He crosses the road and steps onto the yard and the angle changes so that I can no longer see him.
We keep making calls. To family. To teachers. To parents. To neighbours. I pace the lounge. I tap out phone numbers and try to sound calm. My body is a mess. Some organs are tightening and some organs are loosening and my brain is on fire. Lisa won’t look at me. I’m the one who should have looked in on Zach last night. I’m the one who should have known he was going to run away. I’m the one who made light of it when he said he would.
That makes me responsible for all of this.
‘And you’re the one responsible if he never gets found.’
I tell Mr What If to shut up, and he does.
At least for now.
ABOUT ‘THE QUIET PEOPLE’: 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 7 year old son Zach goes missing, naturally the police and the public 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?
MY THOUGHTS: What a rollercoaster of a read! I cried in several places, and my jaw dropped in several others. My heart pounded, and my breath caught in my throat.
Paul Cleave has been firmly ensconced in my top five authors ever since I read his first book a number of years ago. He never fails to shock, appal and enthrall me.
I found it really easy to relate to this particular storyline. Who has a child who hasn’t threatened to run away? Who has a child who hasn’t actually done it? It is heart in the mouth stuff. And Cameron’s reaction to Zach’s threat was very similar to mine. This could have been my story, only I was lucky. My son came home.
The Quiet People is told from the points of view of Cameron, Zach’s dad, and Detective Rebecca Kent and takes place over the period of one week. The dual points of view provide the reader with the viewpoints of both the police and the parents. Both points of view are entirely logical, plausible, possible, but are conflicting.
The characters are entirely plausible and realistic. Although some reactions of the characters are extreme, it is an extremely fraught situation. I really enjoyed the inclusion of ‘Mr What If’, that little voice that nags at us all. I call mine ‘my mother’.
This is a book that I recommend you go into blind. The Quiet People is heartbreaking, shocking, and oh so good. Better than good. Absolutely excellent. Just read this.
THE AUTHOR: Paul Cleave is an internationally bestselling author who is currently dividing his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where all of his novels are set, and Europe, where none of his novels are set. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. He has won the Ngaio Marsh award for best crime novel in New Zealand, he won the Saint-Maur book festival’s crime novel of the year in France, has been shortlisted for the Edgar Award and the Barry Award in the US, and shortlisted for the Ned Kelly award in Australia. When he’s not writing, he spends his time swearing on a golf course, swearing on a tennis court, or trying to add to his list of 25 countries where he’s thrown his Frisbee.
DISCLOSURE: I borrowed my copy of The Quiet People, written by Paul Cleave, and published by Upstart Press, from Waitomo District Library because I couldn’t wait to read the copy I have on order from my local bookstore. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
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Finally, here are some of the photos from our few days in Wellington last month. We travelled both ways by train which is an extremely relaxing way to travel. We didn’t get many photos on the way down as it rained quite heavily most of the way, but we were extremely lucky with the weather while we were there. It was raining again when we left Wellington, but cleared about an hour into our journey home.
This was the view from our hotel room balcony. We could see from Oriental Bay, to our right, the marina was immediately in front of us, and the port off to our left. So there was always something to watch as we sat on the balcony and and rested our weary feet in the late afternoon.
These are some of the lovely old homes that line Oriental Parade in Oriental Bay.
Situated on the hill above Oriental Bay, Saint Gerard’s Monastery and Church, built in 1932 and 1908 respectively, are considered a historic landmark. After 113 years, St Gerard’s Church held its final mass at the end of May. It closed over “safety concerns” but the fate of the buildings remains unclear.
The Wellington Cable Car is a funicular railway in Wellington, New Zealand, between Lambton Quay, the main shopping street, and Kelburn, a suburb in the hills overlooking the central city, rising 120 m (394 ft) over a length of 612 m (2,008 ft).
There are a number of viaducts spanning the rivers between Te Kuiti and Wellington. This photo was taken from one in the Manawatu.
New Zealand farmland.
Home to three active volcanic mountains, and iconic and majestic landscapes, Tongariro National Park has attracted adventurers of all ages since 1887. This is Mount Ruapehu.
The main reason for doing this train trip was to travel the Raurimu Spiral, which my grandfather worked on when he first came to Te Kuiti as a young man.
The only way of really appreciating the engineering excellence and sinuous beauty of the Raurimu spiral is to see it from the air. The spiral was devised by Department of Public Works engineer Robert Holmes in 1898. His design was a clever solution to a major problem – the land between between Raurimu and National Park dropped significantly and was too steep for a train to travel along directly. Holmes’s spiral increased the distance between these two locations to by employing sweeping curves and tunnels, which allowed the railway track to follow a manageable incline. It was constructed between 1905 and 1908. The Historic Places Trust registered the spiral as a category one historic place in 2005. (Te Ara, Govt. New Zealand)
This post complements my previous post today on Maori sacred sites in New Zealand.
Matariki is a special occasion in the New Zealand calendar which marks the start of the Māori New Year. Signified by the Matariki cluster of stars reappearing in our night sky, this is a time of celebration and reflection.
Traditionally, Matariki was used to determine the coming season’s crop. A warmer season, and therefore a more productive crop yield, was indicated by how bright the stars were. Matariki provides an ideal opportunity to explore the ways that people pass on and sustain aspects of their culture and heritage.
It has just been announced that Matariki celebrations will be held at the beautiful Waitomo Caves, which is twenty minutes from where we live. Click on following link to learn more about our Matariki celebrations and see a photo of our beautiful and world famous caves.
Waitomo is a village on the North Island of New Zealand. It’s known for its extensive underground cave systems. Thousands of glow-worms light up the Glowworm Caves. The vast Ruakuri Cave features waterfalls and limestone formations. West, Mangapohue Natural Bridge is a high limestone arch over Mangapohue Stream.
Because I haven’t had time to write a post today – I have been looking after my grandson who had finally succumbed to the stomach bug doing the rounds at daycare – I am going to share with you some more beautiful New Zealand scenery, accompanied by some Maori lore and legend. Just click on the link and enjoy.
Last year I posted when we drove to the small coastal settlement of Awakino for lunch, and spoke about it being the last time that I would pass through the Awakino tunnel. Although it is not a big tunnel, the children always loved the echo of the car horn as we passed through it.
I have attached a link to an article about the closure of the tunnel and the opening of the new bypass. There are some beautiful photos for those of you wanting some more New Zealand scenery.