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Joe Victim

(Cleaner #2)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  718 ratings  ·  109 reviews
The internationally bestselling author of The Laughterhouse brings back one of his most infamous characters, the dreaded Christchurch Carver—but in this darkly fascinating psycho-thriller…he’s the target.Joe Middleton has a lot on his plate, to say the least. Arrested for a whole slew of murders he says he can’t remember, Joe—a.k.a. the Christchurch Carver—has been in jail ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Atria Books (first published August 21st 2013)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  718 ratings  ·  109 reviews

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Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it

In the first book in this series, 'The Cleaner', a serial killer dubbed The Christchurch Carver is terrorizing Christchurch, New Zealand. The murderer, named Joe Middleton, is able to hide in plain sight - in a police station no less - by pretending to be a mentally challenged janitor.

As this sequel opens, Joe is in jail awaiting trial. He still pretends to be slow-witted, and claims to have no memory of killing anyone. In fact Joe, who's aggrieved about being locked up, thinks of himself as
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In this second book of the "Cleaner" series, Joe the janitor is in lockup awaiting trial. He talks about the other inmates and life inside. He speaks to his lawyer and his psychiatrist. Caleb Cole from The Laughterhouse is in his unit, and Joe doesn't trust him. I don't trust Joe. He charms, he lies, he manipulates. He has several personas he uses in different settings. Joe's internal thinking is so whacked up, but it can be humorous at times. I liked this character in The Cleaner, and I still ...more
Erin (from Long Island, NY)
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So good!! (SO bad, but so good!) Just as good as the first!! (& really, when does that happen??!) If anything, I wish there was a 3rd!! I definitely recommend this- my only advice is that with these books you really NEED to read the 1st book first. You’re really shorting yourself if you jump in & start here.. Great fun though.. Enjoy!! ...more
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I must admit that for a long time I had trouble engaging in this story and found it a slow read. The Cleaner had gripped me from its start. I was planning a 3-star rating. I thought there was too much talk in setting up the plot and not enough action. There were some gross scenes involving very unappetizing sandwiches and the disgusting descriptions of the sickness which ensued.

Since Joe is now deservedly in prison where no one believes his ’Simple Joe’ act, much of ’Simple Joe’s black humour
Maureen DeLuca
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If I could give this book a 10 star read I would. Ok- so I LOVE Paul Cleave as a writer- hence the 10 star read. If you never picked up any of his books- I suggest starting with his books by PUBLICATION ORDER. Most, if not all his books wind up bringing the same characters that are in his other series. But this book, Joe Victim you should definitely read The Cleaner which is the first in this series.....

It amazes me how Paul Cleave can have a character like "Joe" who is EVIL - and yet- at
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Really enjoyed this on audio. Very strange to find being in this killer's head was really quite humorous much of the time. Brenda wrote an excellent review for this title.

PS I didn't read the first one in this series, and it was not a problem. Don't know if I'll read the next, but I thoroughly enjoyed Joe, and his view of himself and the world, in this one.
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
What can I say about this book?

I admit, I had to wonder what Paul Cleave could find to write about in this the second Joe Middleton (aka Christchurch Carver) book, with Joe being in jail.....but I should have known better. This book is just one bombshell of a surprise after another. There are more twists and turns than a on back country New Zealand road!

Yes, Joe has survived his suicide attempt and is in jail awaiting trial intent pleading insanity (against the advice of his lawyer) and
Terri Wino
May 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: year-2018
I usually love Paul Cleave's books. This one, not so much. There was quite a bit of action, which is always a good thing. There was also a lot of humor, which helped with some of the less palatable moments (pun intended for one particular event in the book involving a sandwich). So certainly all of the ingredients were in place for a fantastic book...and yet I just wasn't that into this one. I think it's probably because I just didn't like Joe in this book. I found a lot of his inner monologues ...more
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the rare situations where the sequel is as good as the original! Go Joe!
Craig Sisterson
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
He’s baaaa-aaack. Joe, the charming and brutal serial killer who masqueraded as a slow-witted police janitor while terrorising Christchurch in Cleave’s raw but outstanding 2006 debut, THE CLEANER.

In the years since, Cleave has gathered awards and acclaim in New Zealand and abroad for his gripping and gory thrillers, yet for Joe only one year has passed. Joe awaits trial on multiple murder charges, but sees himself as the victim. Stuck in prison, unable to continue his ‘work’, forced to liaise
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This follows where the Cleaner left off. In fact it starts with Joe being arrested. Then it is a year later and Joe's trial is coming up. The same old characters are there plus others from later books. It is going to be a hard sell I think, as although the writing is great the content may not be to many peoples liking........and once again I find myself liking a sick-in-the-head serial killer. Paul has quite a unique way of writing and I cannot think of anyone else I have read who is similar ...more
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great story. Joe is like the Forest Gump of serial Killers
Paul Pessolano
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
“Joe Victim” by Paul Cleave, published by Atria Paperback.

Category – Mystery/Thriller Publication Date - September 03, 2013

Paul Cleave has written seven books that are now being republished in paperback form. The novels take place in Christchurch, New Zealand and he is definitely not on the preferred list of those promoting travel to New Zealand. Although he lives, his books depict a place that is cold, dreary, and has a nasty criminal element.

In “Joe Victim”, Joe is incarcerated as the
Nov 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book and series is right up my alley. Yet I struggled with this book. In fact, I don't know how I even got 210 pages into this book. There was nothing intriguing about the story of the characters. For a fleeting moment a few times it did seem like the story was going to go somewhere but for me it did not. This is because there was more talking and not enough action or I hate to say it (killing). I have no issues with the fact that I did not read the first book in this series as I have read ...more
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bizarre in that I can’t help but pull for the serial killer. It’s violent, disturbing but somehow refreshing because I can’t guess what’s coming next. I’ll definitely read the next when it comes out.
Richard White
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
Even better than the Cleaner, the first in the series. Make sure you read these two books in order. Not sure if book three is out yet.
Oct 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's official I just love Paul Cleave and his writing. The first book in this duology The Cleaner was my favourite book of the year and could possibly be one of my favourite books of all time. The story of me actually obtaining Joe Victim is a long one and I nearly didn't get it cos everywhere I looked it was going to cost me at least $20 and when you're on a book budget like I am $20 is a lot for just one book. I tried to convince myself that I really didn't need this book and that I didn't ...more
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review will be brief since I finished the book some time ago. How long ago - how the hell should I know!! I'm old and not expected to remember these things.

The Paul Cleave books that I have read are all part of one ongoing story and, from my perspective, that adds to the reader's (me, in this case) enjoyment. Several of the main characters from earlier books have found their way into Joe Victim and several new and quite interesting characters have been added.

Cleave is known, amongst other
May 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Not as much fun to read as the first in the series, but I'm inspired to read all Cleave's books set in Christchurch since several characters from previous books appeared here. Joe Middleton is a stupid but cheerful serial killer....he's funny to read about but also really an unconventional combination. I can't seem to enjoy pulling for the antihero in this case, but why not, it's fiction anyway.
Enrico Tassinari
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This novel took a bit longer to be read. Maybe because has most of the things I don't like in thrillers: perp POV, blood, sociopathic behaviours, violence. But it also has a complicate plot, a gritty dark sense of humour and a pace that gets better and better. But the things that I like most in Cleave's novels are that you know what's going to happen but you can't ever figure out the outcome. This makes all his novels worth to read to the last page.
As always a terrific read. I just don't think I'll ever be able to look at a sandwich the same way ever again. Disturbing indeed.
Apr 18, 2013 added it
Really enjoyed this sequel to "The Cleaner"!! Well thought out story and loved the "sweet revenge" Joe got in the end!! 7 out of 10 on this one.
Allison O'Neill
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After loving the character Joe Middleton so much in Cleave's 'The Cleaner' it was a thrill to get to revisit him in the sequel 'Joe Victim'. Joe remains just as entertainingly crazy. "I was sixteen years old and I had never done a single illegal thing except for breaking into a few homes, shoplifiting and once burning down a barn that had goats inside that I didnt know where there."

Writing Joe gives Cleave plenty of opportunity to stretch the legs of his memorable humor. His word play is Cleave
Apr 10, 2019 added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I deducted 1 star because I could not eat my marinara meat sauce while reading this Paul Cleave. :-) Be aware of you are squeamish. This guy is a heck of a writer and I’ll gladly read anything he writes. You have to be a special writer to pull off creating a horrible evil flawed serial killer that is somewhat sympathetic and hysterically funny. I imagine Paul Cleave, in person, must have a wicked sense of humor.

I inadvertently read Five Minutes Alone before Joe Victim — so I wanted to add that I
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you haven't read The Cleaner, you definitely need to read that book before this one. Joe is just a victim, he hasn't done anything wrong and can't remember if he killed anyone. This book is told from a few different perspectives, mainly Joe (serial killer/victim), Detective Schroeder, and Melissa (killer / Joe's 'girlfriend'). There are many people that want to see Joe pay for what he's done, but Joe has a plan and believes that he can fix the mess he's in and live happily ever after with ...more
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
OMG....this book is at times hilarious, horrific and so packed with twists and turns...oh, it’s funny if your sense of humor is dark and twisted like mine can be. All of Cleave’s books grab you and immures you into the town of Christchurch, New Zealand...and they’re loosely connected, so it’s a good idea to start with the first Theodore Tate book to get references made in the two books with Joe the Cleaner. Outrageous, impossible to predict and sometimes so visceral that you can’t help but ...more
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Patricia Kaniasty
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Awesome story, just not worthy of a 5 star rating. I don't even want to give it a 4 star. Too low. Not as good as "The Cleaner". Very great if you like detective stories/thrillers. It's about a serial killer and his girl. Not one that you will want to miss if you liked to read this kind of story. Not too gory.
Rob Cohen
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really procrastinated about reading this one. The first book, The Cleaner, wasn't great, it dragged, and I didn't like the characters to much. So I must have put this one off for a year or so. But man, this one was good. I really liked it; the synopsis on the back didn't do the book justice. Tense, hectic, exciting and compelling.
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Paul Cleave is an internationally bestselling author who 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 work has been translated into fifteen languages. He has won the Ngaio Marsh award for best crime novel in New Zealand, he won the Saint-Maur book festival's crime novel of the ...more

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