Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A little amour for Paul Cleave in France

While New Zealand booksellers and our book buying public have been a touch slow to catch on to Paul Cleave's world-class dark thrillers set in Christchurch, the authors and his books have done very well with audiences in continental Europe, where he has become an international bestseller in translation.

I remember being in Cologne, Germany for Christmas 2009 and seeing a large stack of Cleave's CEMETERY LAKE (entitled DIE TOTEN SCHWEIGEN NICHT) at the airport bookstore, right alongside Stephen King, Peter James, Lee Child and many other big-name international bestsellers. Honestly, it was a larger stack of Cleave's novels than I've ever seen in any New Zealand bookstore. The book hit the #2 spot on release on, slotting in just behind Dan Brown's latest at the time. And of course Cleave's debut, THE CLEANER, was the #1 bestselling crime/thriller title on in 2007, and #10 bestselling book of any kind that year.

A quick aside - Germany is a bit of a 'canary in the coalmine' when it comes to crime fiction - they've embraced several authors in the past decade prior to the author becoming widely popular in English-speaking countries, including Stieg Larsson and Linwood Barclay, amongst others.

I've also heard that European readers, reviewers, and book judges aren't quite so 'snooty' when it comes to the literary fiction vs genre fiction divide (created more by marketers than any sort of quality distinction) as their counterparts in Commonwealth countries.
Back to the matter at hand. Cleave's debut THE CLEANER was released in France late last year (entitled UN EMPLOYE MODELE, pictured above), and hit #1 on's Police/Suspense charts. And now the book has been listed by Le Parisien as one of the top crime reads for summer. I don't speak any French whatsover, but relying on Google translator, I can see phrases such as "irresistable black humour" and "a coup" being used to describe Cleave's debut in the article. It's great to see Cleave getting a little amour (love) in France. He's in pretty good company on the list of best crime novels too, alongside the likes of Michael Connelly, Jo Nesbo, Arnaldur Indridason, Mo Hayder and Don Winslow.

Having read more than 200 crime novels since I returned to New Zealand in late 2008 and was first introduced to Cleave's writing when I picked up a copy of CEMETERY LAKE, I can honestly say that in my opinion Cleave thoroughly deserves to be mentioned alongside writers of that calibre. I think he is a world class writer, and hopefully at some point New Zealanders will recognise, and be just as proud of, our world-class crime writers as we are of our world class sportspeople, world class moviemakers, and others.

Cleave is also in store for some more amour in France, as his Facebook page says he's heading there tomorrow for a series of interviews. Here's his latest comment:

"I'm heading back to Paris tomorrow for three days. Sweet! I love Paris! I have a bunch of interviews to do for Blood Men, which comes out there in October - it's the first time I've ever done a series of interviews other than in NZ, and it's exciting to have been asked. All this travel is stopping the rewrite on book six, though. Maybe I should get an assistant... somebody to either write or travel for me."

Great to see. I'm currently reading an advance copy of COLLECTING COOPER, Cleave's fifth novel, which will be released in the US later this month. It's terrific - a noticeable step up from much of the crime fiction I've been reading lately, and one of the very best books I've read so far this year (out of 53 books).

You can follow Paul Cleave on Facebook here.

For those overseas, you can pre-order COLLECTING COOPER here.

For those in New Zealand, I understand that although the book is being released in the US this year but is not yet scheduled for Australia/New Zealand publication, that local bookstore Penny's in Hamilton will be specially importing the US book, and you can order it from them - contact Linda on (07) 854 8389 or


  1. I agree that Paul's achievements are very undersung and by implication undervalued here: I am thrilled that he is getting 'da love' in France, with the US now catching the wave as well.

  2. I pre-ordered Collecting Cooper from The Book Depository. They ship free internationally. Really looking forward to getting my copy and poor Paul he and his frisbee have been all over lol sounds like he needs a vacation from his working vacation.