Book Review: Paranoid Contracts By Gordon Kenz

The detective agency set up by Cerys encompassed her perception of amoral and legal enquiries taken up on behalf of her clients. However those persons investigated found themselves in situations which involved rather more of a deception than a perception. How moral was the work? How could it be justified to smash personal relationships, to break apart marriages, to destroy careers or to feed the greed of managers at the expense of their colleagues? To what lengths would such investigations go and where would the work of the agency finally end up? When staff started to break the rules of engagement, the whole of the agency began its inevitable collapse. Cerys was no longer in control and methods used were clearly not as she had started. Individual and poorly planned investigations brought an end to her careful planning and outcomes rested on poorer levels of work. This in turn led to a financial downturn in the profitablility of her agency. Where would it all end?

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I enjoyed this 20 chapter book divided into 5 different parts. My favorite lines: 1) Your imagination is often a long way from the truth. 2) Maybe it simply was that Paranoid Contracts were the perfect crimes undertaken. Perfect, of course, because they were not crimes.

The story used a non-linear approach of telling the story–not in chronological order. It was told through magazine clippings, the Paranoid Contracts play-by-play handbook, and through the victims and clients sharing their experiences. It seemed like omniscience point-of-view was used to recount what happened instead of relying on emotions.

  • However, I enjoyed this type of narration because it seemed like I was getting the full picture. I got to see things from the clients, victims, and co-workers’ perspectives. Plus, characters I was interested in had a follow-up instead of things left open-ended.
  • It was cool seeing the way Cerys and her team operated in setting people up (not all of the victims were celebrities). Some ideas came from her husband Jock. He loved to play pranks on people. After a while, Cerys’s conscience started to kick in–they were ruining peoples’ lives after all. An old victim decided to give her a publishing contract, so she could write a tell-all book. Juicy!

My favorite scenes were the ones that the characters finally realized they were duped but it was too late. Those moments seemed more personal to me as a reader. The two cases that stood out for me the most: 1) after Edward got duped, he decided to investigate things for himself. It ended up with someone committing suicide 2) One client was stubborn, never listening to Cerys’s directions, so he left a voicemail message. The guy it was meant to hurt kept repeating the recording and decided it was a fake, so he and his girlfriend (intended victim) got revenge on all parties involved.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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