The Cleaner: A Thriller

The Cleaner: A Thriller

by Paul Cleave

Paperback(Original)

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Overview

An international bestseller and one of the top-selling novels in New Zealand's history, Paul Cleave's dark thriller is a brilliant, bloody masterpiece.

Joe is in control of everything in his simple life--both his day job as a janitor for the po

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451677799
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 12/11/2012
Series: Christchurch Noir Crime Series , #1
Edition description: Original
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 796,087
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Paul Cleave is the internationally bestselling author of ten award-winning crime thrillers, including Joe Victim, which was a finalist for the 2014 Edgar and Barry Awards, Trust No One and Five Minutes Alone, which won consecutive Ngaio Marsh Awards in 2015 and 2016. He lives in Christchurch, New Zealand. Visit his website at PaulCleave.com.

Read an Excerpt

The Cleaner
CHAPTER ONE

I pull the car into the driveway. Sit back. Try to relax. The day, I swear to God, has to be at least ninety-five degrees. Christchurch heat. Schizophrenic weather. Sweat is dripping from my body. My fingers are wet-rubber damp. I lean forward and twist the keys in the ignition, grab my briefcase, and climb out of the car. Out here, the air-conditioning actually works. I reach the front door and fumble with the lock. I breathe a sigh of relief when I step inside.

I stroll through to the kitchen. Angela, I can hear, is in the shower upstairs. I’ll disturb her later. For now, I need a drink. I walk to the fridge. It has a stainless-steel door in which my reflection looks like a ghost. I open the door and squat down in front of it for close to a minute, making friends with the cool air. The fridge offers me both beer and Coke. I take a beer, twist off the cap, and sit down at the table. I’m no heavy drinker, but I knock this bottle back in maybe twenty seconds. The fridge offers up another bottle. Who am I to say no? I lean back in the chair. Put my feet up on the table. Consider taking off my shoes. You know that feeling? A hot day at work. Stress for eight hours. Then sitting down, feet in the air, beer in hand, and you take your shoes off.

Pure bliss.

Listening to the shower upstairs, I casually sip at my second beer of the year. Takes me five minutes to finish this one, and now I’m hungry. Back at the fridge and to the slice of cold pizza I spied on my first trip. I shrug. Why not? It isn’t as though I need to watch my weight.

I sit back at the table. Feet in the air. The same thing works for pizza as it does for beer once you get those shoes off. Right now, though, I don’t have the time. I wolf down the pizza, pick up my briefcase, and make my way upstairs. The stereo in the bedroom is pumping out a song I recognize, but can’t name. Same goes for the artist. Nevertheless, I find myself humming along as I lay my briefcase on the bed, knowing the tune will be stuck in my mind for hours. I sit down next to the briefcase. Open it. Take the newspaper out. The first page offers up the sort of news that makes newspapers sell. Often I wonder if the media makes half this stuff up, just to inflate sales. There’s definitely a market for it.

I hear the shower turn off but ignore it, preferring to read the paper. It’s an article about some guy who’s been terrorizing the city. Killing women. Torture. Rape. Homicide. The stuff movies are made of. A couple of minutes go by and I’m still sitting here reading when Angela, wiping her hair with a towel, steps out of the bathroom surrounded by white steam and the smell of skin lotion.

I lower the newspaper and smile.

She looks over at me.

“Who the fuck are you?” she asks.

What People are Saying About This

S.J. Watson

“An intense adrenalin rush from start to finish, I read The Laughterhouse in one sitting. It’ll have you up all night. Fantastic!”

Simon Kernick

“Paul Cleave writes the kind of dark, intense thrillers that I never want to end. Do yourself a favor and check him out.

Mark Billingham

“Relentlessly gripping, deliciously twisted and shot through with a vein of humor that’s as dark as hell.”

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