Mr. Cleave is great at keeping the focus on the antihero: Joe Middleton. Joe Victim is very dark with moments of reality. In fact, Mr. Cleave takes reality and twists it using understandable emotions to wring out a tale of woe, sickening moments, and moments of sheer grit. That said this is a psychological thriller from start to finish. Mr. Cleave keeps the tension tight with anticipation of whether the caught killer either confesses his crimes or will he escape his foreseeable punishments.
At the beginning, Joe Middleton is caught. He’s caught between a future involving jail and the mental hospital. Also, Joe is caught between reality and his imagination. So he languishes in jail for a year as he claims he can’t recall murdering people. He had two lawyers die or disappear as both men were eager to help defend him. His third lawyer was court appointed as no one wanted to defend him.
While it seems overkill, Joe is hated by many people, and there is an active murder plot brewing. Guards hate him, so do the inmates. Neither side is willing to befriend Joe. And making it worse are the people of New Zealand who are working on voting in the death penalty just for him. And his sole support system, his mother, is planning on marrying a man on his first court day.
This is a good book, but a word of caution for those with weak stomachs: don’t eat anything while reading this book. As with previous novels, some characters from other stories do appear in this tale. Joe Victim is a tight book with an astounding ending. One constant theme plays out through this book and that is revenge. Regardless of the feelings, no matter who is with Joe, there is payback and death somewhere in this twisted tale. If you’ve loved Mr. Cleave’s previous works, you’ll love this one. It will be interesting to see what Mr. Cleave’s next novel is.
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 for the last year awaiting trial, charged with the task of convincing the psychiatrists interviewing him that he wasn’t of sound mind and can’t be blamed for what he did. And, incredibly, that’s the least of his worries.
That’s because there’s no shortage of people who like the idea of seeing Joe dead, some of whom are on the inside with him. On the outside, 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. To get himself out of this epic mess, Joe has a desperate plan involving the disgraced ex-detective who put Joe away and a television psychic who’s looking to get rich. It’s a long shot, but it had better work—because the people of New Zealand are voting to bring back the death penalty, and the Christchurch Carver is just the poster boy to make it happen.