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Victims and villains, Bernard Carpinter

Joe Victim
Paul Cleave
Penguin Books
ISBN 9780143570424

Drowning City
Ben Atkins
ISBN 9781775535522

“The Christchurch Carver” is the name bestowed by the media upon Joe Middleton, the central character of Paul Cleave’s debut novel, The Cleaner. Joe is a serial rapist and killer of attractive young women and – a brave but successful move by Cleave – the narrator. Joe enjoys his criminal adventures, describing them with relish and flashes of dark humour. He also enjoys being smarter than all the cops, especially as he works as a cleaner at the police station, where he pretends to be retarded.

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