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Joe Victim: A Thriller (Christchurch Noir Crime Series) Paperback – September 3, 2013


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Joe Victim: A Thriller (Christchurch Noir Crime Series) + The Cleaner: A Thriller (Christchurch Noir Crime Series) + The Killing Hour: A Thriller
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Product Details

  • Series: Christchurch Noir Crime Series
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Original edition (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451677979
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451677973
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #976,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. New Zealand author Cleave pulls out all the stops in his seventh Christchurch noir, a sequel to The Cleaner, which revealed that the Christchurch Carver was Joe Middleton, a police department janitor. A year after his arrest, Middleton's incarceration and impending trial have put the issue of capital punishment back on New Zealand's agenda, just in time for a national election. His female partner-in-crime, Melissa X, whose relationship with him is ambivalent at best, is looking for a gunman to take Middleton out before his day in court. The killer, in turn, is banking on the insanity defense to get him off the hook. And an ex-cop who was responsible for finally catching the Carver is hoping to use his inside knowledge to boost a bogus psychic's TV show. Cleave juggles all the elements with impressive ease. Darkly humorous references to horrific violence will resonate with Dexter fans. Agent: Jane Gregory, Gregory and Company. (Sept.)

From Booklist

This sequel to The Cleaner (2012) finds accused serial killer Joe Middleton imprisoned and awaiting trial as the accused Christchurch Carver, but, despite his imprisonment, dead bodies are still piling up. Joe’s had a run of bad luck; his first two attorneys were murdered, and the latest is court-appointed and, to Joe’s way of thinking, not that bright. Joe is convinced a jury will find him innocent by reason of insanity, but his lawyer and the court-appointed psychiatrist strongly disagree. The only bright spot is a disgraced ex-cop working for a TV psychic who offers Joe a deal: lead them to a murdered cop’s missing remains for a large payoff, which Joe decides is his ticket out of jail. Meanwhile, he has to contend with fellow inmates trying to kill him, politicians looking to bring back the death penalty in time for his sentencing, and, less lethally, his mother’s upcoming wedding. Once again, gruesome violence abounds, so fainthearted readers be forewarned. Chelsea Cain and Thomas Harris fans will appreciate reading from Joe’s point of view. --Stacy Alesi

More About the Author

Paul Cleave is currently dividing his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where all of his novels are set, and Europe, where none of his novels are set. His eight novels have so far been translated into over a dozen languages and nearly 20 territories. He has won the Saint-Maur book festival's crime novel of the year in France, has been shortlisted for the Ned Kelly award, the Edgar Award, the Barry Award, and has won the Ngaio Marsh award for NZ crime fiction.

The New Zealand Listener said that Cleave writes with 'an energy that conventional crime novels lack', and he has been called 'the next Stephen King', 'a rising star of the genre' and 'a writer to watch'. Publishers Weekly have said 'a pulse-pounding serial killer thriller. The city of Christchurch becomes a modern equivalent of James Ellroy's Los Angeles of the 1950s, a discordant symphony of violence and human weakness... the book's real power lies in the complexity of its characters,', and

Cleave numbers among his fans top crime and thriller writers such as Mark Billingham, who wrote: 'Most people come back from New Zealand talking about the breathtaking scenery and the amazing experiences. I came back raving about Paul Cleave.' John Connolly called Blood Men 'dark, bloody, and gripping . . . classic noir fiction', and said that in Paul Cleave 'Jim Thompson has another worthy heir to his throne'. The Lab's John Heath calls Cleave's writing 'uncompromising, unpredictable, and enthralling', adding, 'Made me vomit -- seriously, it's that good.' Simon Kernick said 'Cleave writes the kind of dark, intense thrillers that I never like to finish. Do yourself a favour and check him out,' and S.J Watson said 'An intense adrenalin rush from start to finish. It'll have you up all night. Fantastic!'

His novels are - The Cleaner, The Killing Hour, Cemetery Lake, Blood Men, Collecting Cooper, The Laughterhouse, and later in 2013 Joe Victim (a sequel to The Cleaner) will be released.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
First of all if you haven't read the Cleaner, you need to stop reading this review and read that book first, as this sequel is a direct follow on to that book's events. It gives away the experiences of that masterpiece, in its pages. Therefore myself or other reviews inevitably also give away parts of the Cleaner's plot in reviewing Joe Victim. The Cleaner is so good a book, you'll kick yourself if you learn anything about it first, by either reading this book before that one or reading the reviews on this page. So if you fall in that catergory don't read past this sentence, and get yourself a copy of The Cleaner.

So onto the review of Joe Victim, is this one of those sequels you finish and wish that it hadn't been written tainting the overall fictional Christchurch world of Joe Middleton and Melissa? Or does it enhance the overall darker version of Christchurch and its antiheros to a whole higher level? I'd answer it isn't the masterpiece that The Cleaner was, but it is still a very good read. Incidentally Paul Cleave has written a nice intro to this book where he not only talks about his darker fictional version of Christchurch New Zealand, but also explains why the recent devastating earthquakes have not appeared in any of his books so far.

Joe Victim brings the reader back into the mind of Joe Middleton. It's a different type of experience to The Cleaner, as Joe is obviously now behind bars awaiting trial for some of his crimes. Life isn't great for him in there, he is housed in a special wing with other murderers and rapists, the guards don't oppose tormenting him and to make matters worse New Zealand is on the verge of a referendum to bring back the death penalty.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Mansfield on October 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is the very first book I've read by Paul Cleave. (Don't you just love that name for a serial killer writer!) The book itself is a direct sequel to the the very first thriller he wrote set in Christchurch, New Zealand and is his seventh thriller set in that city. From what I can gather, there is a small series running within these books, this not being one of them, but all the books do take place in the same city, the same police force and within the same timeline so references are made between them. Characters know each other etc. This sounds entirely exciting to me and I'd love to go and read his books in published order. Not having read any of the other books, I didn't have any problem jumping in with this one, much background information was given to fill us in or refresh readers minds. Being a serial series reader though, I am more than certain I would have loved getting all the insider references. The story was great and very intense and creepy. This one is told half the time through the killer's point of view and he is the one in danger this time making him a creepily sympathetic character at times. Yuck! but true... I was fascinated that the book took place in NZ and found the cultural and police procedures to add another dimension to the story when I'm so used to American/British (OK,Scandi) crimes all the time. .An intense look inside the mind of a psychopath that I enjoyed very much but would probably have to recommend reading, at least, the sequel to this book first, "The Cleaner". I'll be going back and reading it myself! I think I may have found a new favourite author. Duh-duh-DUH!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Brooks on February 4, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book shortly after reading Cemetery Lake. At the time, I didn't know there were a few books to read before this one. Even though each of the author's books are interconnected, they each stand alone in a brilliant way. Events from the previous books are given throughout the current one but it's only enough to explain something and wet your appetite for the previous titles. I really wish I could own all of them to read them in order. One day I will but for now, I'm glad I read Joe Victim.

Many of the characters are ones that were introduced throughout the other books and yet, they're given a sort of second introduction as they come into play. Previous crimes were referenced and explained when necessary. Even without reading the other books, there was plenty of murder, mayhem, emotion and vengeance in this book to satisfy any and all thriller/mystery needs. I truly loved how every one of the characters were human. They were both parts good and evil - though some were more evil than good. It made them seem real, almost making the book seem like a tv show or movie instead of a book.

The action started out strong and almost kept steady throughout the entire book. I felt there were a few places were the pacing lulled and for me, it was understandable given what was occurring in that particular part of the book. Since the book was written from the point-of-view of several characters, I was privy to information that some of the other characters weren't. Many times I wanted to shake some sense in a few, smack a couple of others and shield some when necessary. Of course, that's a sign of a good book - when the reader becomes invested within a book to the point that they experience the highs and lows alongside the character.
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