'Cleave uses words like lethal weapons' New York Times Book Review
'Dark, bloody, and gripping ... classic noir fiction' John Connolly
An international bestseller and one of the top-selling novels in New Zealand's history, Paul Cleave's dark thriller is a brilliant, bloody masterpiece.
Joe is in control of everything in his simple life - both his day job as a janitor for the police department and his "night work." He isn't bothered by the daily news reports of the Christchurch Carver, who, they say, has murdered seven women. Joe knows, though, that the Carver killed only six. He knows that for a fact, and he's determined to find the copycat. He'll punish him for the one, then frame him for the other six. It's the perfect plan because he already knows he can outwit the police.
All he needs now is to take care of all the women who keep getting in his way, including his odd, overprotective mother and Sally, the maintenance worker who sees him as a replacement for her dead brother. Then there's the mysterious Melissa, the only woman to have ever understood him, but whose fantasies of blackmail and torture don't have a place in Joe's investigation.
This thriller, the first in Cleave's Christchurch Noir Crime series, debuted in his native New Zealand in 2006, arriving in the U.S. in paperback in 2012 and now, finally, in audio. Posing as though he's mentally challenged, Joe Middleton is all but invisible to the Christchurch, New Zealand, police detectives whose offices he cleans. The police have no clue that "Slow Joe" is "the Christchurch Carver," a serial killer whose trail of raped and murdered women they are struggling to follow. When a copycat killer adds a victim to his list, Joe undertakes his own investigation, one that gets sidetracked when a mysterious woman named Melissa gives him a not-quite-fatal taste of his own medicine. Actor Ansdell adds a jaunty, upbeat tone to Joe's thoughts and words that almost compensates for the crudity and ugliness of his deeds. Melissa sounds, at appropriate times, sophisticated, sexy, and sinister. But once she has her sadistic way with Joe, the act and its horrific, bloody aftermath are described in such gut-wrenching detail and at such length that the audio may become almost as painful for listeners as it is for Joe. An Atria paperback.