Book Review: The Cleaner by Paul Cleave

The CleanerThe Cleaner
Paul Cleave
Atria, December 2012
ISBN 978-1-4516-7779-9
Trade Paperback

Meet Joe Middleton. Some people think he’s Slow Joe or Simple Joe. He’s an average guy with an average job. He’s a janitor, a cleaner, for the Christchurch, New Zealand police department. He has two goldfish. He visits his nag of a mom on a regular basis for meatloaf dinners.

Joe is also a serial killer. He’s raped and killed several women so far and knows the police investigation is going nowhere. How? Because, as a cleaner, he has access to the rooms where all the evidence is kept. However, he’s made a discovery and he’s not happy about it. A recent murder victim has been found. Although Joe didn’t kill her, the real perpetrator is setting him up for it. This prompts Joe to start his own investigation to find the real killer. He’s intelligent and by using deductive reasoning will narrow down the suspects.

However, Joe has other worries, namely the pesky women in his life. Besides his mother, there is Sally, a co-worker who he thinks has a schoolgirl crush on him. There is also the enigmatic Melissa…who just may be his equal in viciousness.

Dark humor runs throughout this novel, first published in New Zealand and expanded for publication in America. Its graphic details left me cringing but Cleave has presented this serial killer as-almost-likeable in a strange but morbid fashion. I didn’t really become a fan of Joe in the sense of seeing him as the hero. He’s definitely not, but there was something about the book that urged me to follow behind him-although not too closely-to see what happened next.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, October 2013.
Author of Night Shadows, Beta and Alpha.

Cover Reveal: True Colors by Melissa Pearl

True Colors


Title: True Colors
Author: Melissa Pearl
Publication date: February 16, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Cover Designer: Dwell Design and Press



Caitlyn Davis always cruised through life, not being the type to ruffle feathers
or involve herself in high school drama…until a chance encounter with a
strange, homeless man changes everything.

Suddenly, Caitlyn has the ability to see behind people’s masks. She discovers
that her life isn’t as simple as she imagined and her high school is
filled with secrets…some very sinister ones.

Unable to ignore her new gift, Caitlyn embarks on a mission to learn why
one of her friends now appears terrified, but masks her fear behind a bright,
smiling veneer. Will Caitlyn’s new ability lead her into hot water? Or is her
newfound vision a blessing that will expose her friends’ true colors?

Her quest will lead Caitlyn to lose friends, stand up
for those in need, and even find love.

At Palisades High School every face tells a story…



About the Author

Melissa PearlMelissa Pearl was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan… not to mention a nine month road trip around North America with her husband. “Best. Year. Ever!!” She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and her debut novel hit the internet in November 2011. Since then she has produced four more books and has a YA fantasy trilogy coming out this year. Unknown and Unseen (The Elements Trilogy) out now!

“I am passionate about writing. It stirs a fire in my soul that I never knew I had. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be and transport my readers into another world where they can laugh, cry and fall in love.”

Author links:

Blog  //  Goodreads  //  Twitter


True Colors Full Flat


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