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Surprising and compelling, this powerfully written novel is a terrifyingly vivid rendering of the mind of a serial killer.

Surprising and compelling, this powerfully written novel is a terrifyingly vivid rendering of the mind of a serial killer.

Meet Joe. He’s a nice guy out to catch a copycat killer. The one copying himself. Joe is in control of everything in his simple life, including both his day job at the police department and his 'night work'. He remembers to feed his fish twice a day and visit his mother at least once a week, although he occasionally peppers her coffee with rat poison. He is not bothered by the reports of The Christchurch Carver, who - they say - murdered seven women. Joe knows the carver has killed only six. He knows that for a fact. And Joe is going to find that copycat killer, punish him for the one murder and then frame him for the rest.

It's a perfect plan because he already knows he can outwit the police. All he has to do now is take care of all the women who keep getting in his way – his domineering mother for one. Then there is Sally, the maintenance worker who sees him as a replacement for her dead brother, and the mysterious Melissa, the only woman to have ever understood him, but whose fantasies of blackmail and torture no longer have any place in Joe's investigation…

The Carver Series:
Book 1: The Cleaner
Book 2: Joe Victim


“...an eccentric, intriguing and rather gory story.” - Alison Pressley, Good Reading

“Cleave also has an excellent ability to keep the surprises coming as the book unfolds, and at the same time has carefully and cleverly mapped out the journey of a criminally insane mind unravelling.” - Lucy Clark, the Sunday Telegraph

"Paul Cleave... is a talent to watch" - Courier Mail 8/7/06

“It’s an exceptional debut by young New Zealand writer Paul Cleave whose concept of telling a story from a mass murderer’s viewpoint is compelling.” - Ray Chesterton, The Saturday Daily Telegraph

"Cleave's writing is uncompromising, unpredictable, and enthralling... Made me vomit - seriously, it's that good" - Jack Heath, author, THE LAB

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    July 31, 2017

    Bantam NZ

    432 pages

    RRP $26.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook


    March 1, 2012

    Random House New Zealand

    427 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ

Also by Paul Cleave

Cemetery Lake
Collecting Cooper
Joe Victim
Blood Men
The Laughterhouse
Five Minutes Alone
The Killing Hour


Make Me
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
The Girl on the Train
The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
The Snowman
A Gentleman in Moscow
The Heart's Invisible Furies
Dragonfly In Amber
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Golden House
The Bear and The Nightingale
Ready Player One
The Trip of a Lifetime
On Chesil Beach
Animal Farm
The Light Between Oceans