Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cleave scoops Edgar Award nomination!!

Huge news here on the Kiwi crime writing front, though it hasn't yet been picked up by media in New Zealand: Christchurch-based crime writer Paul Cleave, the Crown Prince of Antipodean Darkness, has been nominated for a prestigious Edgar Award for his latest novel, JOE VICTIM!

Congratulations to Cleave, who is hugely popular in European markets, and has previously won crime writing awards in New Zealand and France. The Edgar Awards are like the Oscars of the crime writing community, and Cleave joins a select group of New Zealanders to ever be nominated for or presented with an Edgar.

JOE VICTIM is one of six nominees in the Best Paperback Original category:
  • The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow Paperbacks) 
  • Almost Criminal by E. R. Brown (Dundurn) 
  • Joe Victim by Paul Cleave (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books) 
  • Joyland by Stephen King (Hard Case Crime) 
  • The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood (Penguin Group USA - Penguin Books) 
  • Brilliance by Marcus Sakey (Amazon Publishing – Thomas and Mercer)
Talking to Cleave a few days after the announcement, he told Crime Watch he was particularly stoked (translation for non-kiwis: really, really happy) to be nominated in the same category as Stephen King, his all-time favourite author. I've included my review of JOE VICTIM for Latitude magazine, below:

JOE VICTIM by Paul Cleave (Penguin, 2013)
He’s baaaa-aaack. Joe, the charming and brutal serial killer who masqueraded as a slow-witted police janitor while terrorising Christchurch in Cleave’s raw but outstanding 2006 debut, THE CLEANER.

In the years since, Cleave has gathered awards and acclaim here and abroad for his gripping and gory thrillers, yet for Joe only one year has passed. Joe awaits trial on multiple murder charges, but sees himself as the victim. Stuck in prison, unable to continue his ‘work’, forced to liaise with lawyers and psychologists as he plots a defence that he wasn’t in control of his actions. And then there’s the movement calling for the reintroduction of the death penalty, with him as posterchild for the hangman, as well as former cops, victims’ family, and a sociopathic ex-girlfriend all coming for him.

Cleave writes vividly and violently, ratcheting up the tension as we wonder what will happen to Joe, and all those whose lives he touches. Ferocious and fun.


  1. Craig, I love your blog here in Syracuse, NY. I look forward to every post. Who are the other Kiwi authors who have received Edgar recognition? It would be nice to know if it wouldn't be a big problem.
    Thank you. Dennis McGough

    1. Hi Dennis. Dame Ngaio Marsh received a Grandmaster Edgar Award back in the day, and recently Neil Cross won an Edgar as the writer of Luther (TV script award). Stephen Ross, a short story writer, was also recently nominated in that category.