When strangers take part in a series of group suicides, everything suggests that a cult is to blame. How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?
***Telegraph Book of the Year***
***Longlisted for Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award***
***Longlisted for Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2020***
‘Heavy gusts of bedsit nihilism usher in this strange mystery … weirdly page-turning’ Sunday Times
‘Laying bare our 21st-century weaknesses and dilemmas, Carver has created a highly original state-of-the-nation novel’ Literary Review
‘Arguably the most original crime novel published this year’ Independent
Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.
That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of the People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.
Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe; it becomes a movement. A social media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist.
How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?
‘Cements Carver as one of the most exciting authors in Britain. After this, he’ll have his own cult following’ Daily Express
‘At once fantastical and appallingly plausible … this mesmeric novel paints a thought-provoking if depressing picture of modern life’ Guardian
‘This book is most memorable for its unrepentant darkness…’ Telegraph
‘Unlike anything else you’ll read this year’ Heat
‘Utterly mesmerising…’ Crime Monthly
In the prologue to Carver's outstanding second mystery featuring London Detective Sergeant Pace (after 2018's Good Samaritans), a man's corpse is discovered a year after he apparently committed suicide by handcuffing himself to a tree in a remote forest and throwing away the key. In the main narrative, nine nameless individuals who call themselves "The People of Choice," each movingly describe their lives. Another unidentified narrator ruminates about the psychology of cults and the mistakes made by notorious serial killers. In due course, the nine all turn up at Chelsea Bridge and hang themselves in full view of horrified bystanders. Meanwhile, Pace is undergoing psychotherapy to be cleared for a return to duty, but he's not sharing his belief that he's the epicenter of "bad things." When Pace learns of the group suicide, his professional curiosity moves him to investigate. The gut-punch ending explains the death in the prologue. Fans of classic downbeat noir from Cornell Woolrich and the like will find Carver has brilliantly translated their themes for the 21st century.
So simple, but utterly horrific. Brilliantly written & only denied 5 stars as it disturbed me so much (perhaps a tad harsh, but hey it’s my rating!).