By Fergus McNeill
Published by Hodder & Stoughton (23 April 2015)
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...
Cut Out is a clever mix of psychological thriller and police procedural. This is the first DI Harland novel that I have read, but is the third in the series. It was easy to read as a standalone, although I now plan to read the first two books.
The book is cleverly organised into sections - three months earlier, one month ago and two weeks ago interspersed with the present - which makes it very easy to follow and a pleasure to read.
The past, and build up to the present, focuses on Nigel and his fixation with his neighbour Matt, whose girlfriend Laura has vanished. Nigel wants to be Matt - he moves his furniture around to match Matt's flat, buys new clothes (just like Matt's) and breaks into Matt's flat to spy on him.
The other sections of the book - the present - focus on DI Harland and his team, who are searching for missing Laura. There's also the murder of a local drug dealer that needs to be resolved, although DI Harland has been taken off the case to investigate Laura's disappearance. Could the cases be linked?
Cut Out is a brilliant novel. It's well written and fast paced, with various twists and turns. I read it in one sitting, which for me is the sign of a great book. I really liked the characters (even Nigel - I actually started to feel sorry for him, which is ridiculous as he was clearly insane!) and found the stalking plot to be a fascinating read.
I received a copy from the publisher through the Lovereading Reviewer Panel in exchange for an honest review. http://www.lovereading.co.uk/book/14096/Cut-Out-by-Fergus-McNeill.html