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Whatever It Takes by Paul Cleave

Updated: Aug 25, 2019


As reviewed on The Cafe TV3.



Paul Cleave is an extremely successful award-winning New Zealand crime writer whose books have been published in over 20 languages and have sold more than a million copies. Whatever It Takes is his eleventh novel.


Usually, Paul Cleave sets his books in his hometown of Christchurch, but this novel is different. Paul has set his novel in Acacia Pines, a remote small town in the US, and when you read the plot, you can see that it wouldn’t have worked in Christchurch, as it’s essential to the plot that the town is remote. A place that has one way in and one way out, miles away from anywhere else.


His new novel opens with Deputy Noah Harper interrogating a suspect in the case of Alyssa, a seven-year-old local girl who has been kidnapped. The person he is interrogating is the Sheriff’s son. Noah is determined to find the girl before it is too late, and in the interrogation, he goes way beyond what police are allowed to do. He rescues the girl, but his actions cost him his job, his wife, and he is kicked out of town with the promise that if he ever returns he’ll be thrown into jail and left there to rot.


Whatever It Takes picks up twelve years later. Noah has moved on and has established a new life in a new town. He owns a bar and has a nice life. But then he gets a phone call from his ex-wife to say that the young girl he rescued has gone missing again. Noah doesn’t take long to decide that he will go back and do whatever it takes to find her again. In doing that he has to face up to his past, and the reader discovers that the current situation is rooted in the original case.


Whatever It Takes is a page-turning read with palpable tension, and Noah is a character to root for. It’s a dark, visceral read though, so gentle readers may not like the repeated violence, but it’s definitely a thrilling read that impresses.


Reviewer: Karen McMillan

Published by Upstart Press

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