Joe Victim

Joe Victim

3.6 5
by Paul Cleave
     
 

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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

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Overview

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…

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
Michael Robotham
“Clever, compelling, and not for the faint hearted. Joe Middleton is the guiltiest 'innocent man' in crime fiction.”
From the Publisher
“An intense adrenalin rush from start to finish, I read The Laughterhouse in one sitting. It’ll have you up all night. Fantastic!”

“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.”

“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.”

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

“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.”

“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.”

Booklist
“A wonderful book.... The final effect is that tingling in the neck hairs that tells us an artist is at work.”
Booklist (starred)
“A wonderful book.... The final effect is that tingling in the neck hairs that tells us an artist is at work.”
Suspense Magazine
“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.”
S.J. Watson
“An intense adrenalin rush from start to finish, I read The Laughterhouse in one sitting. It’ll have you up all night. Fantastic!”
The Listener (New Zealand)
“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.”
A Best Book of 2012 The Listener (New Zealand)
“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.”
Kirkus Reviews
In his latest noir thriller, Cleave (Cemetery Lake, 2013, etc.) again stumbles into the evil environs of contemporary Christchurch, New Zealand. The Christchurch Carver, whose tale began in Cleave's The Cleaner, has been jailed. The Carver, posing as "Slow" Joe, worked as a police station janitor--when he wasn't bloodletting on Christchurch's streets. Now he calls himself Joe Victim, claiming no memory of the murders. The story unfolds with references to his rampage woven into the narrative, enough to let this episode work as a stand-alone novel. However, Cleave's protagonist from other Christchurch thrillers, ex-cop Theo Tate, takes no part. In fact, there's no hero to root for here, except perhaps guilt-ridden, stressed-out Carl Schroder, once Tate's partner but now himself fired from the police. Point of view shifts from Joe, to Schroder, and then to Melissa, whose true name is Natalie Flowers. Natalie has taken on her murdered sister's identity because, "There is something wrong inside of her, something terribly, terribly wrong." Natalie/Melissa, as thoroughly bloodthirsty as Joe, plans to spring Joe from custody as he is transferred to court. The plot is extraordinarily complex, interspersed with Joe's manipulative ramblings to prison psychiatrists, which vacillate among reluctant admissions of sexual abuse by an aunt, his claims that he has no memory of murdering, and his fearsome interactions with other deviants, both prisoners and guards, in the prison's segregation unit. Simultaneously, the disgraced Schroder, employed as consultant to a television psychic, attempts to manipulate Joe while also using his own frayed police connections to locate the body of another police detective. That detective, with his own corrupt history, was another victim of Natalie/Melissa and Joe. The novel is a cringe-worthy exploration of the heart's dark recesses, with a denouement exploding into mass violence as Natalie/Melissa's plot to free Joe goes awry amid a rally for restoration of New Zealand's death penalty. A little Hannibal Lector. A little Richard von Krafft-Ebing. A lot of gore.
Library Journal
Joe Middleton says he can't remember, but he has murdered so many people so gruesomely that he's been dubbed the Christchurch Carver. Now, with New Zealanders considering restoration of the death penalty and a wary accomplice outside wanting Joe silenced forever, he's desperately working an angle with a television psychic and the disgraced detective who got him convicted. Your chance to root for the bad guy; with a 30,000-copy first printing.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451677973
Publisher:
Atria Books
Publication date:
09/03/2013
Series:
Christchurch Noir Crime Series
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
639,120
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.30(d)

What People are saying about this

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

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