The Cleaner by Paul Cleave
A Thriller

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 5 Critic Reviews



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.

Originally published in 2006 in Cleave’s native New Zealand, where it was a finalist for the prestigious Ned Kelly Award for Best Fiction, The Cleaner is a chilling and darkly funny thriller that will leave you clamoring for his next.

About Paul Cleave

See more books from this Author
Paul Cleave is the author of five previous internationally bestselling thrillers, The Cleaner, The Killing Hour, Cemetery Lake, Blood Men, and Collecting Cooper. He lives in Christchurch, New Zealand. Find out more at
Published December 11, 2012 by Atria Books. 402 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Cleaner

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

A detailed look inside the mind of a remorseless serial killer penned by a New Zealand-based writer who specializes in gore and the gruesome side of crime.

Oct 01 2012 | Read Full Review of The Cleaner: A Thriller

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

A generic serial killer and an overly drawn out plot mar Cleave’s otherwise promising debut, first published outside the U.S. in 2006.

Oct 01 2012 | Read Full Review of The Cleaner: A Thriller

Book Reporter

Joe works in the Christchurch Police Department headquarters by day, laboring as a janitor, well-liked by all who believe that the gent who toils uncomplainingly was intellectually short-changed at birth.

Jan 04 2013 | Read Full Review of The Cleaner: A Thriller

Reviewing the Evidence

Joe Middleton works as a janitor for the Christchurch (New Zealand) Police Department.

| Read Full Review of The Cleaner: A Thriller

Night Owl Suspense

This novel is very graphic in terms of how he became a serial killer, how he kills women, how he tries to kill his mother, how he tries to discover the killer who’s framing him, and how Joe is stalked by another serial killer himself.

| Read Full Review of The Cleaner: A Thriller

Reader Rating for The Cleaner

An aggregated and normalized score based on 38 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review