Joe Victim

A Thriller

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About The Book

NOMINATED FOR THE 2014 EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

Sometimes reality can really get in the way of a good story.

Joe Middleton’s story is this: He doesn’t remember killing anyone, so there’ s no way a jury can convict him of serial murder. He calls himself Joe Victim, trying, as he awaits trial, to convince the psychiatrists that he wasn’t in control of his actions, trusting that the system will save him in the end.

But others know Joe as the infamous Christchurch Carver and they want to see him dead. There’s Melissa, Joe’s accomplice in one of the murders, who plans on shooting him on his way to the courthouse before he gets a chance to start talking. Then there’s Raphael, whose daughter was one of the Carver’s victims. Though he’s tried to move on with life as the leader of a counseling group for grieving family members, he’d like nothing more than to watch Joe pay. Finally there’s Carl Schroder, the ex-detective who locked Joe up and is determined to put things right for the case of his career.

To extract himself from this epic mess, Joe has come up with a desperate plan involving a television psychic who’s looking to get rich by making people believe just about anything. It’s a long shot, but it had better work before he becomes the poster boy for a death penalty that may be reinstated in New Zealand, which isn’t quite the dramatic ending he is hoping for…

About The Author
Photograph by Martin Hunter

Paul Cleave is the internationally bestselling author of ten award-winning crime thrillers, including Joe Victim, which was a finalist for the 2014 Edgar and Barry Awards, Trust No One and Five Minutes Alone, which won consecutive Ngaio Marsh Awards in 2015 and 2016. He lives in Christchurch, New Zealand. Visit his website at PaulCleave.com.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Atria Books (September 2013)
  • Length: 496 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781451677973

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Raves and Reviews

“Cleave pulls out all the stops in his seventh Christchurch noir.... [He] juggles all the elements with impressive ease. Darkly humorous references to horrific violence will resonate with Dexter fans.”

– Publishers Weekly (starred)

“A little Hannibal Lector. A little Richard von Krafft-Ebing. A lot of gore”

– Kirkus Reviews

“Cleave does his usual great job of threading two ongoing stories from two different serials into a single, closely knit unit and as usual, keeps the reader eager for more. It’s hard not to empathize with Joe, even cheering for the bad guy is allowed, if for no other reason, we need to know what he will do next.”

– Suspense Magazine

“Clever, compelling, and not for the faint hearted. Joe Middleton is the guiltiest 'innocent man' in crime fiction.”

– Michael Robotham, internationally bestselling author of Watching You

“An intense adrenalin rush from start to finish, I read The Laughterhouse in one sitting. It’ll have you up all night. Fantastic!”

– S.J. Watson, New York Times bestselling author of Before I Go to Sleep

“Piano wire–taut plotting, Tate’s heart-wrenching losses and forlorn hopes, and Cleave’s unusually perceptive gaze into the maw of a killer’s madness make this a standout chapter in his detective’s rocky road to redemption.”

– Publishers Weekly (starred)

“In Cleave’s third psycho-thriller, Theodore Tate is the quintessential flawed hero, a damaged soul hunting deviants in a forest of moral quandaries.... An intense and bloody noir thriller, one often descending into a violent abyss reminiscent of Thomas Harris, creator of Hannibal Lecter.”

– Kirkus Reviews

“A wonderful book.... The final effect is that tingling in the neck hairs that tells us an artist is at work.”

– Booklist (starred)

“This dark, gripping thriller, the latest in the Tate saga, is as hard-boiled as it gets. The surprise ending suspends all disbelief. Like a TV series that ends its season on a cliffhanger, you won’t want to wait until next year. This will leave the reader clamoring for the next book in the series.”

– Suspense Magazine

“Cleave is a master of evoking the view askew; delving into the troubled psyches of conflicted characters. Former cop and convict Theo Tate, stumbling forward in search of some sort of redemption, returns to the scene of his first crime scene, hunting a killer and kidnapper set on revenge. Ferocious storytelling that makes you think and feel. A blood-stained high point in Cleave’s already impressive oeuvre.”

– The Listener (New Zealand), A Best Book of 2012

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More books from this author: Paul Cleave

More books in this series: Christchurch Noir Crime Series