Review: Cut Out by Fergus McNeill (5/5)

Thursday 9 October 2014
What if someone wished their life was more like yours? Exactly like yours. And what if they lived upstairs? Perfect for fans of Peter James, this is unputdownable crime - featuring Detective Inspector Harland.

Nigel never meant for it to happen. At first, he just wanted to be Matt's friend. But when he discovers he can hear what is going on in the flat below him, his fascination with his new neighbour drifts into obsession.

Rearranging his furniture to recreate the layout of the rooms downstairs. Buying the same clothes, going through his post, his things. Becoming Matt without him ever knowing.

And it would have been all right, if Matt hadn't brought the girl home.

When things spiral out of control, Detective Inspector Harland has to unravel the disturbing truth. But there's far more to the case than meets the eye . . .

I was very excited to read this book after reading the blurb on bookbridgr. It confused me then when I began reading and our detective, DI Harland is at the scene of a particularly brutal and gruesome murder of a local drug dealer in a club toilet. We begin to follow Harland attempting to find out more only for him to be given the case of a missing woman, Laura, instead. The book then goes back in time by three months and introduces us to Nigel.

Given the nature of the plot it is almost impossible to discuss it without giving stuff away but sticking as closely to the blurb as possible I'll attempt to summarize. Nigel has a new neighbour, Matt and all he wants is to be his friend. Nigel is somewhat of a loner, so when Matt invites him round to watch the football he gets an insight into a world where he can socialize and have friends. He wants to become more like Matt who he sees as cool and sophisticated. To start off he rearranges his flat to match the layout of Matt's, then he starts buying the same clothes, reading his mail and then.... I honestly can't say anymore as you absolutely have to read this book for yourself and be as enthralled and, at times, shocked as I was.

The parts with Nigel becoming obsessed with Matt have an almost psychological thriller edge to it rather than just your standard crime novel. At times you almost feel sorry for him, he just wants to be liked and have a friendship with Matt yet it very soon becomes quite scary. Nigel is odd and creepy and not someone you would want as a stalker. Also, everything that Nigel does to Matt feels entirely plausible and realistic. Often you might get a story where you think 'Oh, as if that would happen...' yet here it all feels very real and for that reason the book becomes a whole lot more terrifying. You have no idea what Nigel will do next, or how far he will go and that makes the book seriously addictive. I finished this one long after I should have been asleep. The book moves between the present day and the months before seamlessly keeping the tension going and the reader hooked.

Everything Nigel does to Matt is actually quite easy and that makes it more scary as it shows just how easy it is for someone to obtain your personal information and 'become' you without your knowledge. It certainly puts me off ever wanting to live in a building like the one Nigel and Matt live in anyway. Matt is of course totally oblivious. In the present day we have DI Harland looking for Laura who is actually Matt's girlfriend and all eyes are on him. Again impossible to say anything else about the story other than it is gripping. Having no idea how the book would end I totally wasn't prepared for the couple of little twists thrown in near the end and the book finished very nicely indeed. However if I'm honest I was a little bit gutted it was over as I was enjoying the book so much.

Since becoming a blogger I've discovered so many authors that when I finish one of their books I'm left wondering why I have never read anything by them before. DI Harland is a fantastic character and one I'd love to read about again, my review TBR is staggering so I rarely have time to read my 'own' books but I really want to read the previous books in this series very soon and will be keeping an eye out in the future for what's to come next from Fergus McNeill who is a brilliant writer capable of telling one hell of a story. I can't reccommend this book enough, hugely enjoyable and one not to miss.

Thanks to Hodder for the review copy via bookbridgr.

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